Millions of women are affected by breast cancer. Today, there are various treatment and diagnosis methods, such as mammography screening, to help save lives. Unfortunately, research suggests that mammography screening in particular may not be as effective as we think.
The study by Anthony B. Miller, examined the efficacy of mammography screening in reducing breast cancer death rates among a younger population (women 40-49 years of age). A group of 50,430 women were put into either the control group where they would undergo usual annual physical examinations, or they would be put into the experimental group where they would undergo annual mammography screenings in addition to usual care. The results of the study were clear; at the last follow up with the patients, there had been 28 deaths in the usual care group and 38 in the mammography group concluding that annual mammography screening had no effect on the death rate of breast cancer. The next study was a sequel study carried out by the same researchers as the study summarized above.
The objective of this study was to collect information on whether or not mammography screenings reduce mortality rates from breast cancer among women who were aged 50-59. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either annual mammography and physical examination (MP) or annual physical examination only (P). At the last follow-up, 11 years after the study began, 88 participants and 90 participants had died from breast cancer from the MP and P group, respectively. Based on these results, researchers found that there is no decrease in breast cancer death rate due to mammography screening. Lastly, a study by J. Frisell and G. Eklund (1991) examined the effectiveness of mammography screening in reducing death rate due to cancer of women in Stockholm.
The study involved 60,000 women that were randomly assigned to either a study population or a control population where they would routinely receive mammography screenings or receive usual care, respectively. After a mean follow-up of 7.4 years, there were 39 deaths in the study population and 30 deaths in the control population. The mortality reduction was an insignificant 29% for the study population. Researchers concluded that mammography screening for women aged 40-64 has no impact on death rate.Based on the evidence from the literature presented, I refute the statement that, mammography screening reduces mortality rates from breast cancer. In the first study, there were 10 more deaths in the mammography group compared to the control group. The second study showed a negligible 2.
22% difference between the death rates of MP and P groups. The last study looked at the broadest aged group of women, however, the data collected again showed no favor to mammography screening. The research done in each of the studies is creditable because it is relevant to the topic, organized and executed by professionals, referenced with strong sources, and has the purpose to improve the lives of those at risk of breast cancer. The research done in each of the studies also proved absence of bias, making the results more likely to be accurate. The limitation found in all three studies was that they were over 20 years old. One could argue that mammography screening has improved since then and may now be more effective in decreasing breast cancer death rates. The question that remains unanswered is, were the studies conducted for a long enough period of time to show acceptable evidence? Nonetheless, the literature presents dependable data suggesting that mammography screening has a marginal effect on the rate of breast cancer mortality.
I recommended that women get their annual mammography for its helpful cancer detection abilities, but it should be made clear that mammography screening does not play a role in decreasing breast cancer death rates.