The American College of Radiology has raised concerns about a report in the British Medical Journal this month that says mammograms did more harm than good in the first 10 years of screening, even for women over the age of 50.
In a statement posted on-line, the ACR says the report underestimates the number of lives saved by half.
“The estimated 15 percent reduction in breast cancer deaths used in this study is the same used in 2009 by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. That estimate has been discredited by a series of large randomized control trials and other data that prove the benefit is at least twice that,” said Barbara Monsees, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission, based on the release.
The BMJ report by University of Southampton researchers analyzes several other reviews of randomized controlled trials including a World Health Organization report. One review of what’s known as the Cochrane Database says that for every 2,000 women screened for breast cancer over 10 years, one will have her life prolonged while 10 healthy women will be treated unnecessarily.
The ACR counters with a 2011 study in Radiology that estimates the reduction in breast cancer deaths from screening at 30 percent. The organization supports breast cancer screening for women beginning at age 40.
To read the full analysis by the American College of Radiology click here.