Study: Mammograms could lead to over-diagnosis

A new study raises more questions about the necessity of frequent mammograms. Danish researchers followed thousands of women in Denmark for more than a decade. Their data found one-third of the abnormalities detected by the breast cancer screening may never cause life-threatening health problems.

Dr. Lauren Cassell is the chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital Northwell Health. She said the study suggests we may be over-diagnosing the number breast cancers that actually do require treatments.

Doctors typically suggest women start getting a mammogram after age 40. Doctors say regular mammograms can help with early detection of breast cancer.

This study says one of the risks of regular mammograms is so-called over diagnosis that could lead to unnecessary treatment.

But Dr. Cassell said that while the findings may be partly true, doctors are not at a point yet where they can say which women will develop life-threatening cancer and which women will not. She says women should not take the findings to mean they should stop getting mammograms.