Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Can mammograms increase cancer risk for some women?

Man oh man but I've been saying this for a long time...the data's already out there, in Europe (I guess where they keep track of such things). Women who get more mammos radiation cancer!

From TIME magazine:

As women are still struggling to make sense of the new mammogram recommendations released in November by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, research presented today at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America suggests that, for women at high risk of developing breast cancer, who are often urged to undergo annual screenings beginning at age 25, exposure to radiation through mammograms may actually be harmful.

This research is preliminary and future analysis is essential to bear out the findings, but it is particularly concerning because it suggests that women at highest risk, who are in most need of screening, may be the most vulnerable to the radiation in mammograms. In the review of six studies that included roughly 5,000 high-risk women, who have an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer due to genetic reasons or family history, for example, researchers found that high-risk patients who were exposed to radiation were 1.5 times more likely to develop cancer than high-risk patients who had no exposure. High-risk patients who had greater levels of exposure to radiation—either beginning mammograms before age 20, or having five or more exposures—were 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer.

Researchers say that the findings may suggest the need for a change in screening methodologies


Jennifer H said...

Where are all these in Europe comments coming from? I live in Europe and women get mammograms annually just like they do in the US.What Europe are you talking about? Europe is a big place and lots of countries are European but not in European community. Not all the countries in Europe are even on board about their medical systems. Each country in Europe has a medical system that is different and as far a how things are done and research data, some things are done in some countries that aren't done in others. If you are talking about the European community, well, in the EU, you have lax standards so that each country and each medical community can have some level of autonomy. Who is telling you this?

GreenFertility said...

My friend in the UK who's my age said she won't start getting them until age 50 (I was pressured to start at about age 38) and then not every year. Another friend who's French said she gets thermography. Not a blanket generalization, but also, much of the radiation data that's changed the current guidelines came out of Europe (Norway). Cheers.