Researchers question efficacy of mammograms

FORT COLLINS COLORADOAN - Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a new medical study suggests mammograms might be less effective than previously thought.

But before you go cancelling that mammogram, know that local doctors take issue with that conclusion, which is similar to the findings of a few other studies conducted during the last decade.

The most recent study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at how diagnosis numbers changed between 1975 — before mammography was widespread — and 2012. The Dartmouth College researchers used data from women age 40 and over who took part in a national cancer case-tracking program.

Researchers found after mammogram screenings became widespread in the 1980s, incidence of small tumors almost doubled. Meanwhile, incidence of larger tumors showed a slight decrease. The rate of metastatic cancer – the most fatal type of cancer – remained unchanged.

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