Mammograms, long touted as essential to early detection of breast cancer in order to help women avoid surgery, may actually result in unnecessary mastectomies, according to a recent Norwegian study. The study suggests that mastectomy rates rise as the numbers of women who receive the screening procedure increase.

The study drew on data from Norway’s national breast cancer screening program for 35,000 women aged 40 to 79 diagnosed with early or invasive breast cancers. Oslo researchers discovered a 31% increased risk of mastectomy among women invited to receive mammograms compared with a non-invited younger age group.

The research team found, in comparing rates of mastectomy before and after the institution of the national screening program, mastectomies increased by 9% among women invited to screenings. However mastectomy rates decreased by 17 percent during the same time period among non-invited women aged 40 to 49 and by 13 percent in non-invited women aged 70 to 79.

Study shows increased mammograms result in more mastectomies, 9/19/11

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