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Book and Media Reviews
December 19, 2012

The Big Squeeze: A Social and Political History of the Controversial Mammogram

Author Affiliations
 

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

Author Affiliation: Department of Radiology, Skokie Hospital, Skokie, Illinois (lberlin@live.com).

JAMA. 2012;308(23):2521-2522. doi:10.1001/jama.308.23.2521

No other medical test comes close to evoking the degree of passion and controversy that mammography does. Indeed, it is rare today to pick up a newspaper or magazine without being confronted with a controversial article about screening mammography. Does mammography reduce mortality from breast cancer, and if so, to what degree? Is mammography harmful to patients because of overdiagnosis or the radiation to which patients are exposed during the procedure? Do benefits of mammography exceed the potential harms? Why and how did the debate shift from a scientific to a political one? The Big Squeeze: A Social and Political History of the Controversial Mammogram by radiologist-mammographer Handel Reynolds provides answers to these questions by taking readers on a fascinating and enlightening 50-year journey, beginning with the introduction of mammography in the early 1960s.

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