How Often Do Mammograms Lead to False Positive Diagnoses?

Estimates suggest that 17 percent of D.C.I.S. cases found through needle biopsy (often the next step after a mammogram detects a mass) are misdiagnosed. The New York Times also reported on several other concerning findings about the frequency of misdiagnosis:

  • A 2006 study by Susan G. Komen for the Cure estimated that in 90,000 cases when women were diagnosed with D.C.I.S. or invasive breast cancer, they either did not have the disease or they got incorrect treatment due to a pathologist error.
  • A 2002 study at Northwestern University Medical Center found that nearly 8 percent of 340 breast cancer cases ” had errors serious enough to change plans for surgery.”
  • Dr. Lagios, a pathologist at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, reviewed nearly 600 breast cases in 2007 and 2008 and found discrepancies in 141 of them.

Mammograms also carry a first-time false positive rate of up to 6 percent. False positives can lead to unnecessary emotional stress and expensive repeat screenings, exposing you to even more radiation. Plus, as discussed earlier, they can sometimes result in unnecessary invasive procedures including biopsies, unnecessary surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and more.

The BEST Way to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer will not prevent you from getting breast cancer, and the latest study shows they offer very little benefit in improving your chances of survival if you do have it. So the best strategy, which I encourage all women to embark upon today, is not to simply get your yearly mammogram and hope for the best — it’s to make lifestyle changes that will significantly cut your cancer risks in the first place.

Researchers estimate that about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases, or about 70,000 cases every year, could be prevented by making lifestyle changes.

A healthy diet, regular physical exercise, and an effective way to manage your emotional health are the cornerstones of just about any cancer prevention program, including breast cancer, but you will also want to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized.

Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, is easily one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. According to one landmark study, some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased. And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer (it actually works against at least 16 different types)!

There’s also research showing that by simply supplementing your diet with animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil you may reduce your breast cancer risk by 32 percent, so this is another strategy I suggest you embrace.

Posted in HealthTagged , ,  |  Leave a comment