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University of Connecticut Health Center

This may explain why more deaths aren't prevented by breast cancer screening

This may explain why more deaths aren't prevented by breast cancer screening

Although women have been getting mammograms for decades, the incidence of metastatic breast cancer — the kind that has already spread to another organ by the time it is found — has remained essentially unchanged since 1975. Data from the National Cancer Institute show that the rate of new cases has held steady at just under 20 per 100,000 women, despite the fact that widespread breast cancer screening programs were introduced in the 1980s.

An essay published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine asks: How can this be?

The idea behind cancer screening is that it’s...

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