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Mammograms: For 1 Life Saved, 3 Over-Treated

| Filed under: Health


We've heard rumblings for quite some time that mammograms aren't all they're cracked up to be… that is, if you're in certain criteria. Don't get us wrong, they're life saving and important, regardless.

We just hear an awful lot about women being over-treated because of them.

If you're over 50, it saves lives. The issue with that it, for every life saved there are three over-diagnosed women who get unnecessarily treated for cancer.

This conclusion has come from evidence in 11 trials from Canada, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. Take Britain for example: if you're between 50 and 70, you should get checked every three years. This saves 1,300 lives a year, but makes 4,000 women get treatment for cancers that pose no risk to their lives.

This doesn't even include the false alarms!

Here's what one of the researchers said:

"It's clear that screening saves lives, but some cancers will be treated that would never have caused any harm and unfortunately, we can't yet tell which cancers are harmful and which are not."

So what's the big deal? Beside unnecessary cost, this researcher says:

"Cancer charities and public health authorities have been misleading women for the past two decades by giving too rosy a picture of the benefits. It's important they have at least acknowledged screening causes substantial harms."

We think the main thing here is that the world should come to a consensus as to how often mammograms should be performed and at what age, and to let people know about type and severity of cancer as well — that way making informed decisions on risky procedures won't be so tough!

In the long run, mammograms ARE necessary though, so don't you dare use this as an excuse not to get them!

[Image via AP Images.]

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