Last week, the conversation about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment moved into new and uncomfortable territory. The New England Journal of Medicine published a large-scale study concluding that mammograms may not be as helpful as most people believe in treating breast cancer. Even worse, the study suggested that more than 1 million women may have been unnecessarily treated and diagnosed.
Everyone agrees that fewer women are dying from breast cancer. We -- meaning the medical community and interested women -- assumed that the increased survival rates were a result of early detection and mammography. “Early detection saves lives” is one of the main rallying cries of the Susan G. Komen Foundation-led pink-ribboned breast cancer community. But what if it doesn’t?