Eric J. Topol, MD
May 06, 2015
The medical community prides itself on evidence to drive important decision-making. But when the evidence is contrary to entrenched medical practice, it has a hard time coming to terms. Such is the case for mammography recommendations. All of the data now available point to significant net harm—far more risk than benefit— for routine mammography. If this were a drug, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would never approve it. Last year, the Swiss Medical Board, after reviewing all of the data, recommended abolishing mammography.
But last week, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new draft recommendations regarding who should undergo screening and how often. There was no support for routine screening in women younger than 50 or older than 74 years. But the recommendation for women aged 50-74 years is to undergo mammography every 2 years. There has never been a large study of mammography done every 2 years, so the basis for that periodicity of screening is questionable. But there are abundant data for annual screening and they are not at all supportive of continuing this practice. [Read More…]