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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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Age Is Nothing But a Number

Age Is Nothing But a Number

(p.50) 5 Age Is Nothing But a Number
The Big Squeeze

Handel Reynolds

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the re-emergence of a controversy in the 1990s, which nearly brought the ascendancy of mammography to a complete halt. The controversy stemmed from the results of a major mammography screening trial performed in Canada, which showed that after eight years of follow-up, routine mammography did not reduce the death rate from breast cancer among women forty to forty-nine. In fact there were 36 percent more breast cancer deaths in the group that received annual mammography and physical examination of the breasts, than in the usual care group had one initial physical examination of the breasts but no subsequent examinations and no mammography. Almost immediately, the Canadian Trial came under a barrage of withering criticism. In lay and professional publications, the backers of screening for women under fifty, led by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology, denounced the study as so deeply flawed that its results were untrustworthy and should be ignored.

Keywords:   screening mammography, mammograms, breast cancer, breast exams, mammography screening trial

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