Study questions whether mammograms save lives

March 24, 2010 2:33:01 PM PDT
A new report is sure to fuel the debate on whether breast cancer screenings really save lives.

A new European study finds screening women for breast cancer does not appear to increase the overall survival from the disease.

The study in the British Medical Journal determines it is questionable if it saves women from dying, but scientists say they are certain that it has serious harms such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment of lesions that would otherwise never have caused problems.

In the study, researchers determined that for every 2,000 women who are screened, over 10 years, only one stands to have her life saved by the mammogram program. They say the risks of getting an unnecessary biopsy is 10 times that.

The American Cancer Society does not agree with this study and says mammography does save lives.