Reston, VA — Mammography overdiagnosis conclusions stated in Jørgensen et al., to be published Jan. 10, 2017, in Annals of Internal Medicine, are not supported by patient-specific data or even the data in the Jorgensen study as written.
The Jørgensen paper is not based on direct patient data that shows which women had a mammogram (at what frequency) and which did not. A well-known study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), based on direct patient data, has shown the rate of breast cancer overdiagnosis in Denmark to be approximately 2 percent.
This 2 percent rate is in keeping with American Cancer Society findings, which re-confirmed analyses by American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) experts that overdiagnosis claims are vastly inflated due to key methodological flaws in many studies.
Breast cancer overdiagnosis is likely one to ten percent — largely due to inclusion of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These are noninvasive cancers often treated to avoid development of “invasive” cancers.
There is no medical evidence that invasive cancers are overdiagnosed. There is little evidence that invasive cancers often go away or shrink without treatment. Medical science cannot determine which cancers will or will not advance. Most doctors understandably recommend treatment.
The small amount of overdiagnosis that does occur will not be decreased by delayed or less frequent screening. The ACR and SBI continue to recommend that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40 and continue to do so as long as they are in good health.
For more information regarding mammography and breast cancer screening visit MammographySavesLives.org, RadiologyInfo.org and sbi-online.org/endtheconfusion.
About the American College of Radiology
The American College of Radiology (ACR), founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care.