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Are Mammograms Beneficial?

A new study questions the value of mammograms after finding that mortality rates from breast cancer in women who have the annual exam are the same as women who don’t. The New York Times reports the study—published this week in BMJ—involved some 90,000 women age 40 to 59 and lasted a quarter of a century. The findings are now being reviewed by an expert panel of the American Cancer Society to see if it changes its recommendation for annual mammograms. Scientists suggest that past studies showing the exam is beneficial were done when drugs that could sharply reduce breast cancer mortality weren’t available—a time when early detection was even more critical.

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