Linda L. Humphrey, MD, MPH; Mark Helfand, MD, MS; Benjamin K.S. Chan, MS
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Humphrey L., Helfand M., Chan B.; Screening for Breast Cancer. Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:770. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-138-9-200305060-00022
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(9):770.
We agree with Drs. Whiteford and Whiteford that mammography detects many non–life-threatening malignancies and that, fortunately, it misses many more microscopic ones. Mammography is far from an ideal screening test. However, for clinically important cancer, the sensitivity and specificity of mammography compare favorably with those of other screening tests. Drs. Whiteford and Whiteford also claim that the incidence of breast cancer has tripled because of wider use of mammography and that the death rate from breast cancer has risen sharply. Actually, between 1973 and 1999, a period in which mammography rates increased substantially, the annual incidence of invasive breast cancer increased from 98.5 to 139.1 per 100 000 women (1). Over this period, age-adjusted breast cancer deaths decreased from 32.3 to 27 per 100 000 women.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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