Study: 50K-70K breast cancer cases don't need treatment - FOX 10 News |

Study: 50K-70K breast cancer cases don't need treatment

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A new study that conducted the most detailed look at the over treatment of breast cancer is the latest in a string suggesting screening is not as helpful as many women believe.

Earlier this year, a similar study came out claiming that mammograms were not helping to save the number of lives previously believed. While this latest study doesn't go that far, it does say that up to one third of breast cancer cases -- between 50,000 and 70,000 -- don't need treatment.

On Wednesday night, a spokesperson for Health East Cancer Care told FOX 9 News all of their doctors encourage mammograms -- and say one of their patients is living proof of how they work.

Like many families, Sher and Karl Noot are preparing for the holiday -- and Thanksgiving Day is one Sher Noot will never take for granted again.

"I view everything different these days," she said. "Every day is a blessing."

Three years ago, the then 46-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer after getting a mammogram, something she had been doing since she was in her 30s.

"I didn't have a history," Noot told FOX 9 News. "It was like, you go to the dentist twice a year. I needed to be proactive and had my mammograms once a year."

Her cancer was aggressive. She had a double mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy. Now, she's cancer free -- but she believes she probably wouldn't even be here today without those screening tests.

Yet, the recent study is one of a growing number that has come out to say mammograms have done little to catch deadly breast cancer before it spreads. In fact, the study suggests over-diagnosis and over-treatment following mammograms accounts for 60 percent of breast cancers found.

Those studies are concerning to people like Sher Noot, who says she fears that women will opt against getting a mammogram and won't find cancer until it's too late.

"The month I was diagnosed, another study came out that you didn't need [mammograms] until you are 50," she said. "If I would have waited, I don't know where I would be right now."

In April, FOX 9 News covered a similar study that found for every 2,500 women screened, only one death from breast cancer would be prevented; however, between six and 10 women would be over diagnosed and treated.

Even so, Dr. Douglas Yee, of the Masonic Cancer Center, said he doesn't think such studies should be catalysts for drastic changes in cancer detection habits.

"I don't think we should use studies like this to abandon mammography," Yee said.

As Sher Nook pointed out, a government-appointed task force recommended mammograms once every other year starting at age 50, but the American Cancer Society disagreed, saying screening should begin at 40.

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