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U.K. study on mammograms mirrors much American research

"It's good for you, so you do it."

So says a breast cancer survivor and member of an independent expert panel in Britain that was commissioned by the government and a leading cancer organization there to investigate the true efficacy of breast cancer screenings.

That woman, along with other panel members, says that her statement reflects a widespread belief among women that underestimates "the possibility of overdiagnosis," which leads in turn in many instances to breast cancer misdiagnosis and unnecessary follow-up treatments.

As numerous studies in the United States and abroad have strongly concluded, such remedial treatment borders on the sheer unnecessary or is sometimes flatly indicative of medical malpractice that leads to serious medication mistakes, surgical error and other dire outcomes.

The U.K. study, which appeared recently in the Lancet journal, mirrors what many health experts have long noted in the United States, namely this: Although mammograms unquestionably do save lives, breast cancer screenings also result unquestionably in a high number of misdiagnosed cancers that bring about unnecessary and sometimes dangerous treatments.

The British health experts say that, for every life saved, about three other women receive inappropriate advice and treatment. That includes radiation, chemotherapy and surgery for either a nonexistent cancer or one that is so insignificant that it requires no treatment at all.

"Cancer charities and public health authorities have been misleading women for the past two decades by giving too rosy a picture of the benefits," says one research commentator.

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a missed breast cancer diagnosis or treatment that was ill-advised and unnecessary, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: Washington Times, "Mammograms: For 1 life saved, 3 women overtreated," Maria Cheng, Oct. 30, 2012

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