Do women who have routine
mammograms have fewer mastectomies than women who do not
have routine mammograms?
Somewhat surprisingly, it has been reported that women who
receive routine mammograms are just as likely to
have mastectomies (removal of the breast) as women
who do not. The reason for this is not clear.
It may be because some women prefer mastectomy over
lumpectomy (excision of the tumor) even if the cancer
is found early when it is small. In addition, it may
be because mammograms find some early cancers that
might never have been diagnosed and some of these
early cancers are treated by mastectomy.
Lastly, some cancers detected by mammograms are already
advanced and necessitate having a mastectomy.
Miller, AB. May we agree to disagree, or how do we
develop guidelines for breast cancer screening.
J Natl Cancer Inst 1994;86:1729-30.