The study findings ''add to the body of evidence supporting the fact that mammography matters in improving detection and survival," said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This study focuses on survival."
The study, however, has some limitations, Bernik noted. It's not clear, for instance, whether the women who died of cancer got less aggressive treatment or refused treatment. That could have affected survival, of course.
Mammography does lead to ''overtreatment" in some cases, Bernik acknowledged. Some cancers that are found on mammography may not have proven to be an issue in a woman's lifetime. "But there is no way to figure out which cancers will be a problem or not," she said.
To learn more about mammograms, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
SOURCES: Suzie Otto, Ph.D., senior researcher, department of public health, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 5, 2011, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, online
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