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Half of women told they have breast cancer when they don't
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

More than a half of women who don't have breast cancer are told they do have the disease because of a false reading from a routine mammogram screening, new research has found

More than a half of women who don't have breast cancer are told they do have the disease because of a false reading from a routine mammogram screening, new research has found.
Around 8 per cent of the women will also have an unnecessary biopsy - which can cause permanent scarring - before discovering that they never had breast cancer.
Researchers have discovered that around 61 per cent of women who have an annual mammogram test for detecting breast cancer will get a false-positive result - 'detecting' a cancer that isn't there - at least once during 10 years of screening.
The research team are suggesting that routine mammogram screening should be reduced to once every two years and start when a woman reaches the age of 50. In the US, screening still begins at 40 years. By following their guidelines, false-positives could be reduced to 42 per cent, say the researchers of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.
Mammogram screening among the under-50s currently picks up two cancers for every 10,000 women screened - but also produces 170 false-positives, say the researchers.
(Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2011; 155: 481-92).


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