New Reports Suggest Breast Cancer Is Overdiagnosed

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : March 4, 2022

According to many researchers, treatment of breast cancer known as mammograms can possibly be resulting in overdiagnosis of the disease, however, the research also states that the number of occurrences is far less than what they were supposed to be. 

New Reports Suggest Breast Cancer Is Overdiagnosed

Breast cancer is the type of cancer that occurs in the breast cells of a woman. It is one of the highest diagnosed types of cancer after skin cancer. This was the data related to women. However, men can also have breast cancer but the frequency of men having breast cancer is far less than the number in women. 

New Reports Suggest Breast Cancer Is Overdiagnosed

Mammography is the process of using Less powerful X-rays for diagnosing and screening breast cancer. It was already known that the screening of mammograms can cause overdiagnosis of breast cancer. Overdiagnosis means that the tumors would not have been fatal or caused harm if they were not detected. This method of detecting breast cancer contributes to 15% of the total detection of breast cancer. 

Overdiagnosis happens if the disease gets diagnosed properly but the treatment or diagnosis is not relevant. A proper diagnosis can be irrelevant in certain cases because it may be that the treatment for the disease is not available, not needed, or not wanted. Overdiagnosis can be called overtreatment. This is what was seen during the experiment. 

The new research was conducted by Dr. Katrina Armstrong (Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston). According to her, it was a good result that the number of estimated happening of the disease was higher than the actual happenings of it. The perception of the disease’s occurrence was somewhat largely higher. 

The problem of overdiagnosis is that it spots those tumors which don’t harm the body till then but unnecessary disturbance can cause certain side effects. These can also cause some mental pressure leading to various mental and emotional problems. 

Let us know about the research itself. 

The study conducted by Armstrong collected data from 36,000 women ranging from the ages of 50 to 74. The data belonged to the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. They had to go through nearly 83,000 mammograms ranging from 2000 and 2018. This led to the diagnosis of  718 breast cancer patients. 

Armstrong reported that nearly 1,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer using mammography screening. These came to a conclusion that the estimated number of women who got screened will be diagnosed at hardly 1 in every thousand women. Armstrong said that she found 280,000 women to be diagnosed with the problem of breast cancer. Out of this diagnosis, reports say that nearly 25000 are unnecessary diagnoses due to overdiagnosis. 

People like Marc Ryser (Duke University Medical University Medical Center) from Durham, NC said that the research was very much needed as it showed that there are certain flaws in the method of the studies, one in the past reading the topic. However, he trusted this research as it was collected from the best possible source of the information.

Armstrong herself said that the way forward is to improve the working and accuracy of the technologies used and to find a better way for the production of the disease to be stopped. Small things like daily exercise and drinking in moderation can help you by lowering your chances of catching the disease. 

We can conclude with only good words regarding the research and its new discoveries. The research solves so many prior doubts people had in their minds regarding the disease. Even doctors and researchers would benefit from this research. We can hope that we find a better diagnosis method and that we get a proper data collection basis. 

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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