Karen Reid of the Register Guard wrote an outstanding piece on the failure of mammograms. In the article, Reid calls out Dr. Jonathan Sims over a prior article whereas he pushes the use of mammograms. Dr. Sims is a radiologist who has a vested interest in pushing mammograms. Here is an excerpt from the article.
As a radiologist specializing in breast imaging, I’m biased; my opinions have been formed by a career of using early detection to save lives. I would far prefer the women I know to have their first mammograms at age 40.
That’s in part because of information we learned through our own records: From Jan. 1 through Oct. 15 of this year, Oregon Imaging Centers conducted 1,600 mammograms for women under 45. We found 16 invasive cancers — cancers for which surgery was needed before they could become deadly.
The ACS said that when it weighed the risks and benefits of mammography screenings, call-backs and biopsies were a significant risk. At Oregon Imaging, we know that being called back is scary but sometimes necessary. Women 40 to 45 years old have some of the highest call-back rates of any age group for two reasons. A woman will often be called back on her first screening mammogram because she has no previous exams for comparison. If we raise the age for first mammograms, those women will simply be called back later.
The other reason is that women aged 40 to 45 have not reached menopause, so their breasts are more dense, making detecting cancers harder. Detecting breast cancer in a hormonally active woman is vital, because her hormones may help breast cancer grow.
Reid takes Sims to task over his associations with the industry, his financial motivations and his general encouragement of the practice. Reid talks about aggressive treatments as results of misdiagnosis which often occurs from mammograms.
Dr. Jonathan Sims should not be writing guest viewpoints such as the one published in the Nov. 17 Register-Guard, “New mammography guidelines sow confusion.” Sims is a radiologist, and he and his clinic have a strong vested interest in continuing with (or accelerating) a mammography program that currently performs and evaluates 22,000 mammography studies a year. This is truly an example of the fox guarding the henhouse.
In response, I cite portions of two other recent reports of large studies on mammography that come to a completely different conclusion: that mammography does not save lives, and does more harm than good — resulting in many overdiagnoses and overtreatment of conditions not warranting aggressive treatment.
You can finish her article here. I highly suggest you read it in full.