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The Big SqueezeA Social and Political History of the Controversial Mammogram$
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Handel Reynolds

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450938

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450938.001.0001

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First Exposure

First Exposure

(p.15) 2 First Exposure
The Big Squeeze

Handel Reynolds

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the American Cancer Society's massive Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project (BCDDP) launched in 1973, when most Americans had never heard of mammography. The BCDDP completed the initial round of screening on 270,000 women in the first two years of the program. The new screening test rapidly achieved widespread public acceptance and there was a fresh sense of optimism about the potential of modern medical technology to conquer breast cancer. However, mammography's growing reputation was marred by the controversy over the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer posed by screening, particularly to younger women. In January 1976, Dr. John C. Bailar III, National Cancer Institute (NCI) deputy associate director for cancer control, published “Mammography: A Contrary View” in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In it he detailed his analysis of the radiation hazards associated with screening mammography.

Keywords:   American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project, mammography, mammograms

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