Another expert, Dr. Linda Vahdat, director of the breast cancer research program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said the study’s leaders made many assumptions to reach a conclusion about overdiagnosis that ‘‘may or may not be correct.’’
‘‘I don’t think it will change how we view screening mammography,’’ she said.
A government-appointed task force that gives screening advice calls for mammograms every other year starting at age 50 and stopping at 75. The American Cancer Society recommends them every year starting at age 40.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the cancer society’s deputy chief medical officer, said the study should not be taken as ‘‘a referendum on mammography,’’ and noted that other high-quality studies have affirmed its value. Still, he said overdiagnosis is a problem, and it’s not possible to tell an individual woman whether her cancer needs treated.
‘‘Our technology has brought us to the place where we can find a lot of cancer. Our science has to bring us to the point where we can define what treatment people really need,’’ he said.
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP