Breast Cancer Over-Diagnosis From Too Many Mammograms

The potential for over-diagnosis and over-treatment from too many mammograms too early has become the subject of a recent study.

The Norwegian Study included nearly 40,000 women with invasive breast cancer.

The study allowed the researchers to compare the rate of breast cancers diagnosed through mammograms and those found because a tumor was palpable or produced symptoms.

Norway has data on virtually all women who get a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The researchers concluded that 15 percent to 25 percent of breast cancers were overdiagnosed — meaning 6 to 10 women were overdiagnosed for every 2,500 offered screening mammograms.

– Dr. Joanne Elmore of the University of Washington and Dr. Suzanne Fletcher of Harvard, in an editorial
Under current practice, those women get biopsies and treatment for breast cancers that would never have been detected otherwise. Either the cancers would have grown very slowly or not at all and never caused symptoms, or women would have died from something else before their breast cancer was diagnosed.

Early Detection is Still the Best Defense Against Breast Cancer

New information backing mammogram screening for women in their 40’s while still confusing focuses on the importance of early detection.

Here’s what they found:
* 373 of those cancers were detected by mammogram
* Of those, 61 percent of women had no family history of breast cancer
* Among women with no family history, 63.2 percent of the cancers were invasive
The percentage of women with invasive disease (63.2 percent) was literally identical to the numbers among women with a family history (64 percent).

So with all the conflicting data the best advice is to work out a plan with your doctor and decide what is best for your individual case.

New Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening Considered Unsafe By Women

Breast Cancer Guidelines are being amended and there is some concern.

The greatest health fear for many women is breast cancer disease.

One in eight women do develop breast cancer, however, women perceive the risk to be much higher.

So much so, as a matter of fact, that they are concerned about the new guidelines limiting early cancer screening for breast cancer.

More than eight out of 10 women say new guidelines recommending against routine breast cancer screening of women under 50 are “unsafe,” according to a small survey.

But most of the women also grossly overestimate their risk of developing the disease, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester found.

Health reform law begins to take effect

Perhaps the new health care reform law will start to become more popular as the law starts to kick in. Many provisions went into effect this week.

On Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a number of its most central consumer protections take effect, just in time for the midterm elections.

Starting now, insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude children because of pre-existing health conditions, which the White House said could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits.

The law will now forbid insurers to drop sick and costly customers after discovering technical mistakes on applications. It requires that they offer coverage to children under 26 on their parents’ policies.

It establishes a menu of preventive procedures, like colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations, that must be covered without co-payments. And it allows consumers who join a new plan to keep their own doctors and to appeal insurance company reimbursement decisions to a third party.

All of these provisions will be very popular, for good reason.

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