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Editor's Correspondence
Mar 12, 2012

The Debate Over Lifesaving Benefit of Screening Mammography Continues

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Oncology/Hematology, Marshfield Clinic Weston Center, Weston, Wisconsin.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(5):446-447. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1867

Recent public, political, and economic pressure has put intense scrutiny on screening modalities including prostate-specific antigen, colonoscopy, and mammography testing, which previously have been accepted as good clinical practice and incorporated into various guidelines. The recent publication by Welch and Frankel1 and the associated commentary2 disputing the life-saving benefits of breast cancer screening by mammography add more fuel to this debate. Welch and Frankel1 make a statistical argument that women with screen-detected cancer are unlikely to have benefited from screening and raise concern about the harms of screening, emphasizing overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

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