Posted by: Babu Suresh | September 18, 2013

Women’s Health: New Study Finds Most Breast Cancer Deaths Happen in Women Who Don’t Get Screened — Should You Care?



Dr. Elaine Schattner

Writer, physician

An intriguing new study found that the vast majority of deaths from breast cancer occur among women who didn’t have routine mammography. The report, published in the journal Cancer, applied “failure analysis” — a way, typically used in engineering to see what might have gone wrong — to expose possible factors in women’s deaths. There was a striking find. Among patients who were 40-49 years old at the time of a stage I, II or III invasive breast cancer diagnosis, 77 percent who died of the disease hadn’t had regular screening.

The paper’s method is flawed, and conclusions limited. But sometimes an imperfect study can hint at real insights. In this report, the apparent concentration of deaths among middle-aged women who “opted out” from screening and had breast cancer suggests that that not having a mammogram is a risk factor for dying from the…

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