- Danish study renews debate about value of early detection
- Other experts estimate overdiagnosis rates at only 2%
One in three women with breast cancer detected by a mammogram is treated unnecessarily, because screening tests found tumors that are so slow-growing that they're essentially harmless, according to a Danish study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, which has renewed debate over the value of early detection.
- The American College of Radiology takes the most aggressive stance, recommending annual mammograms beginning at age 40. Tumors should be found when they're "smaller and easier to treat," Monticciolo said.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent expert panel that advises the federal government on health, provoked a firestorm of criticism in 2009 when it bucked that advice, recommending that women get mammograms every other year beginning at age 50. The group noted that breast cancer risk rises with age, so mammograms are more likely to discover cancer -- as opposed to benign growths -- after age 50.
- The American Cancer Society also scaled back its screening advice in 2015, recommending women get annual mammograms from 45 to 54, followed by screenings every other year after that.