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Mammography results in substantial overdiagnosis of breast cancer, concludes study

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7910 (Published 21 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7910
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Screening mammography has resulted in the overdiagnosis of breast cancer in 1.3 million women in the United States in the past 30 years, concludes a new study.

Overdiagnosis means that tumors are detected on screening that would never lead to clinical symptoms, so women undergo unnecessary surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The study, in the New England Journal of Medicine,1 estimated that more than 70 000 women in the US were overdiagnosed in 2008, representing almost a third of all cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women aged 40 or over.

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