Mammograms -Who Needs Them?
Excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
By Susun S. Weed
Screening mammograms don't increase your chances of being cured .
. . or of surviving longer
Early diagnosis of breast cancer by mammographic screening produces
higher rates of cure and longer survival times without actually increasing
the number of women cured nor lengthening their lives. How can that
be? It's sleight of hand with numbers.
Survival, when it comes to breast cancer statistics, is defined as
being alive five years after the diagnosis of cancer. Cure is defined
as being disease-free five years after diagnosis. A women who dies of
breast cancer more than five years after her diagnosis can still be
included in statistics as a "cure."
A woman with a slow-growing metastasizing breast cancer will live,
on the average, 15 years after the cancer's inception.15
A mammogram can detect a slow-growing breast cancer when it is about
eight years old. (15 - 8 = 7 more years to live.) If this woman dies
seven years after her diagnosis, she will be counted as "cured"
because she lived for more than 5 years.
The same slow-growing metastasizing breast cancer will be 11 or 12
years from its inception when noticed by a woman who neither touches
her breasts regularly nor has mammograms. (Women who do regular breast
self-exam or breast self-massage usually notice a slow-growing cancer
nine years after its inception, just one doubling bigger than visible
to a mammogram.16) This woman will live
as long as the woman whose cancer was discovered by screening mammogram,
but won't be "cured" because she didn't live for five more
years. (15 - 11 = 4 years).
The cure is only a statistic. There is no difference in the number
of years lived after the inception of the cancer, no difference in the
length of life, only a difference in number of years lived after diagnosis.
Read the rest of Chapter 5 (click on any
Mammograms - Who needs
can't tell if there's cancer.
don't replace breast self-exams.
screening increases risk of breast cancer mortality in premenopausal
Why I haven't
had a baseline mammogram.
mammograms lead to overtreatment.
mammograms don't increase your chances of being cured . . . or of surviving
don't find cancer before it metastasizes.
mammograms life saving for women over 55?
screening mammograms aren't cost effective to society nor are they safe
a less risky way to participate in screening mam-mography?
distract us from the need for societal commitment to true prevention.
other ways to find early-stage breast cancers?
don't promote breast health.
Decide to Have a Mammogram.
more Excerpts from Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
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