A recent study was done at Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) facilities where researchers looked at the rate of breast cancer diagnosis in contemporary mammogram practice for the detection of nonprogressive cancer. Individual screening and diagnosis records were used to predict the rate of overdiagnosis among screen detected-cancer under biennial screening (every 23-26 months).
Participants were women between the ages of 50-74 at first mammography screen between 2000-2018. The cohort included 35,986 women, over 82,000 mammograms and 718 breast cancer diagnoses. The conclusion was that among biennially screened women aged 50-74, about 1 in 7 cases of screen detected breast cancer is over diagnosed. This included detecting indolent (benign) preclinical cancer and detecting progressive preclinical cancer in women who would have died of an unrelated cause before clinical diagnosis.
Mammogram screening can lead to breast cancer over diagnosis. This should be a personalized decision between you and you’re practitioner as to the frequency of screening mammograms so an informed decision can be made including the risks and benefits.
References: Estimation of Breast Cancer Overdiagnosis in a U.S. Breast Screening Cohort
Ann. Intern. Med 2022 Mar 01;[EPub Ahead of Print], MD Ryser, J Lange, LYT Inoue, ES O’Meara, C Gard, DL Miglioretti, JL Bulliard, AF Brouwer, ES Hwang, RB Etzioni
Carlos, C., Margarita, P et al. Benefits and harms of annual, biennial, or triennial breast cancer mammography screening for women average risk of breast cancer: a systematic review for the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC). British Journal of Cancer, 126, 673-688 (2022). Published 11/26/2021.