Study: 1.3 million women over age 40 over diagnosed with breast cancer in 3 decades

Holy Hormones Honey!  Can you imagine how many women suffered needlessly over being misdiagnosed with breast cancer?  How many women had their breasts removed because of that fear?  So many women are not educated about their hormone health.  Hormone imbalance – and incorrect ratio of estrogen and progesterone – will cause cellular overgrowth (estrogen dominance). On the other hand menstrual cycle evaluation is also crucial here.   Estrogen is the dominant hormone in the first part of the menstrual cycle – and can cause lumpy (fibrocystic ) breasts.  In the second half of the cycle if progesterone levels are high enough – the estrogen abates as do the lumpy breasts for some part.

For women with anovulatory cycles – continuous estrogen production until ovulation finally takes place is dangerous. Add in synthetic hormone birth control and the whole cycle becomes a mess and hormones become whacked out.

Guess, I should also mention that radiation from mammograms may also cause cancer.

Study Suggests Breast Cancer Overdiagnosed

Medscape Today
By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: November 21, 2012
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

As a result of mammographic screening programs, as many 1.3 million women over age 40 were over diagnosed with breast cancer over three decades, researchers reported.

In a study that seems certain to generate controversy — as is apparent in MedPage Today’s discussant video — the researchers concluded that overdiagnosis is involved in up to a third of all newly discovered tumors and that screening plays only a small role in reducing breast cancer mortality.

Over the past 30 years, mammogram programs have increased the detection of early-stage breast cancer, according to Archie Bleyer, MD, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and H. Gilbert Welch, MD, of Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H.

But screening had little effect on the detection of late-stage disease, they reported in the Nov. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, implying that many women underwent treatment for early forms of cancer that would never have caused serious disease.

Bleyer said the finding – while suggesting that screening is largely ineffective – is actually good news, because it implies that therapy is actually more effective than had been thought.

Breast cancer mortality has been falling in the U.S., a decline usually attributed to a combination of increased screening and better treatment, Bleyer told MedPage Today. The study implies, he said, that “treatment … is the main, if not the only, reason for the improvement” in survival.

The findings come from a retrospective analysis of annual breast cancer data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, coupled with assumptions about how the incidence of the disease changed over time.

The researchers used a 3-year period near the beginning of the database – 1976 though 1978 – to develop baseline incidence estimates for breast cancer among women 40 and over.

They estimated current incidence using the 3 years from 2006 through 2008. For calculations that covered all 3 decades, they adjusted the observed incidence from 1990 through 2005 to account for increases attributed to the use of hormone replacement therapy over that period.

Finally, their main assumption about the change in background incidence over time among women over 40 was that it would parallel what was seen among younger women – an increase of 0.25% a year.

In 2006-2008, they found, the incidence of early-stage cancer was markedly higher than before screening in 1976-1978, while the incidence of late-stage disease changed minimally.

They found that, annually, there were:

  • 7 cases per 100,000 women of ductal carcinoma in situ in the early period, compared with 56 per 100,000 more recently
  • For localized disease, 105 per 100,000 women in 1976-1978 and 178 per 100,000 in 2006-2008
  • For regional disease, 85 per 100,000 women in the earlier period and 78 per 100,000 in the later period
  • 17 cases of distant disease per 100,000 women in both periods

When the figures were rounded off, Bleyer and Welch reported, there were an extra 122 early cases per 100,000 women detected in the mammogram period and a drop of eight cases of late-stage disease.

“With the assumption of a constant underlying disease burden, only 8 of the 122 additional early-stage cancers diagnosed were expected to progress to advanced disease,” they argued.

In 2008, that would have amounted to over diagnosis in 70,000 women, or about 31% of all diagnosed breast cancers, they reported.

Read full article…


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.