2. Breast cancer is over-diagnosed in women who undergo routine mammograms.
This is hardly a surprise. If you are looking for something to be wrong, you’re much more likely to find something to validate your expectation.
In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in its journal Internal Medicine that corroborates findings of the meta-analysis mentioned above, concluding that the diagnoses of breast cancer were significantly higher for women who have undergone mammogram screening tests. There was no correlation with that research, however, between increased mammography testing and subsequent breast cancer mortality. (7)
Estimates of over-diagnoses of breast cancer range from thirty to fifty-five percent. (8, 9) This doesn’t mean that mammography found more breast cancer than would otherwise have been discovered; rather, it means that benign growths and non-invasive tumors that pose no/limited health risk were diagnosed, leading to over- and invasive treatment. (10)
3. Conventional treatment for over-diagnosed breast cancer causes more harm than good.
Like treating the common cold with an antibiotic, the conventional treatments for breast cancer that include radiography, chemotherapy, hormone replacement therapy, and surgery for many cancers is overkill and unnecessary.
“Early detection” of a mass in breast tissue doesn’t mean that the mass will grow or become a health/life concern. Your body is killing cancerous cells every second of every day.
Aggressive treatment when not truly indicated can have grave consequences. Would you amputate your leg to get rid of a wart on your foot?
4. Mammography can return false positive results.
Falsely positive results from mammograms are very common, especially in younger women. (11) There may be anomalies in breast tissue that a mammogram can find.
When analysis of a screening test comes back positive but further testing reverses the diagnosis, it’s known as a false positive test result. Being misdiagnosed with breast cancer has been associated with anxiety and long-term psychological effects. (12)