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Mammogram study suppressed?

Dr. Swn Shapiro of Johns Hopkins University, said [May 5,1992] that he reviewed data from a controversial large Canadian study about to be published which found women in their 40s who got annual mammograms were more likely to die of breast cancer than those who had only physical exams. Shapiro declined to reveal how much higher the death rate was and said it could have been chance.

In April of this year the magazine Diagnostic Imaging cited "unconfirrned reports" that the study showed women in their 40s who got annual mammograms were 50 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than women who did not.

The Canadian study has been the subject of rumor and speculation for months because it challenges the fervent belief that mammograms prevent cancer deaths and could scare women away from the breast x-rays.

The Canadian researchers speculated that the squeezing of the breast in the mammography machine might force cancer cells from tiny tumors into the blood stream, speeding their spread.

But Dr. Daniel Kaplan of Massachusetts General Hospital countered that such squeezing would clamp blood vessels shut and have the opposite effect. He also noted that women with advanced but undetected breast cancers were more likely to get mammograms than physical exams, which could account for the higher death risk.

"We don't want to scare the whole population into staying away from mammograms, including women under age 50," Kopans said.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Canadian National Breast Screening Study
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Jun 22, 1992
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