Overdiagnosis of breast cancer not uncommon report new studies

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EmaxHealth Health News

By Robin Wulffson MD for eMaxHealth.com

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and the second leading cause of death (behind coronary heart disease) in in the United States. Many women regularly undergo a screening mammogram for the early detection of the disease. According to two new studies, a significant number of these women are diagnosed with breast cancer, which may not require treatment at present; this situation is known as overdiagnosis.

The findings from the Norwegian Screening Program were reported in the April 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers from Harvard University (Boston, Massachusetts, the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden), and Oslo University Hospital (Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway) noted that overdiagnosis not only poses a major ethical problem but also encumbers the patient and the healthcare system.

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