Cancer is serious business and it’s not something to underestimate. Because of this, millions of women everywhere see their doctors and physicians every year to undergo their annual mammogram, the traditional breast cancer screening procedure (1). Mammograms involve “pressing a woman’s breast between two metal platforms to scope out tumors,” and has been practiced for many years, but what if this common procedure is doing more harm that good (1)? What if it’s not nearly as effective as millions of women trust it to be?
Recently, surgeons have begun questioning the controversial practice of mammograms, revealing multiple studies that show mammograms to be entirely ineffective (1). Additionally, they can actually cause harm to the women who use them (1).
Why do We Still Get Mammograms?
People are commonly told that the mammogram is the only way to identify breast cancer in its very early stages, but reviews from eight scientific trials investigating the procedure found that mammography is neither safe for the patient nor altogether effective in finding cancerous properties (1).
More than 600,000 women between the ages of 39 and 74 have undergone a monitored procedure on a routine basis. And after reviewing the data gathered, researchers uncovered that a great many of the examined women were actually misdiagnosed in response to a mammography (2). The research discovered that many women ended up being mistreated with chemotherapy, resulting in new health issues (2).
More women end up getting misdiagnosed, and consequently mistreated, in response to mammography than those who actually avoid the development of terminal breast cancer (3). Therefore, it’s become increasingly clear that mammography is an entirely outdated resource that is more fitting for the history books than modern medical treatments (1). It is especially misfit as a star player in women’s medicine (1).
New Studies about Mammography
A study completed in Switzerland originating out of Canada (the 2014 Canadian National Breast Screening Study) concluded that mammography screenings do not reduce mortality rates at any better rate than your average physical breast examination (1). This means that women are paying much more to get a fancy mammography when they could simply feel for lumps and bumps and get the same–if not better results.
Consequently, the procedure is utterly unnecessary and actually harmful. As Dr. Sarah Mybill said, “I believe that if you did have a tumor, the last thing you would want to do is crush that tumor between two plates because that would spread it” (1).
The list of research goes on and on. There have been countless studies done expressing the severe uselessness of mammography (4). The math calculates it this way: “If we assume that screening reduces breast cancer mortality by 15% and that overdiagnosis and overtreatment is at 30%, it means that for every 2000 women invited for a screening throughout 10 years, one will avoid dying of breast cancer and 10 perfectly healthy, cancer-free women who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be treated unnecessarily” (1).
It seems crazy that doctors today are attempting to treat cancer with tools as useless as the mammography. Women need to be educated about their bodies and the kinds of tools that are being used to determine the state of their health. According to all the research, mammography is outdated, ineffective, and even potentially harmful. It’s time to stop using them.
By Abbey Ryan-Elder