Clarification note: Videos spread false information about mammography

The Brazilian College of Radiology (CBR), the Brazilian Society of Mastology (SBM) and the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations (FEBRASGO) are duty-bound to disclose a clarification note in response to recently published videos on electronic media ( Youtube), which irresponsibly disseminates distorted information about breast cancer detection and diagnosis. So we would like to say:

1. Breast cancer is the most common tumor among women and the leading cause of tumor death in Brazil and worldwide. However, in Brazil, unlike developed countries, mortality from breast cancer continues to rise.

2. The cause of the continued increase in mortality is the lack of adequate screening programs or the low adherence of the population to the programs offered - mainly due to lack of information or access to distorted information such as these recently broadcast. Also due to lack of access to recommended treatments in a timely manner.

3. It should be emphasized that mammography is the only test that, when systematically performed from the age of 40 on asymptomatic women, has been shown to lead to a reduction in breast cancer mortality. This has been demonstrated through large studies of more than 500,000 women, with a reduction in mortality ranging from 10% to 35% in the group of women undergoing screening compared to those who were not submitted.

4. Thus, the main medical societies in Brazil and worldwide are unanimous in recommending mammographic screening for asymptomatic women, starting from the age of 40 or 50 years (depending on the country), with an annual or biennial frequency (also varying in some countries). In Brazil, medical societies recommend annual mammographic screening for women aged 40 to 75 years.

5. The self-examination detects the tumor when it is already in an advanced phase. There is no study that proves any benefit for reducing mortality and should not be adopted as a screening method.

6. The risk of radioinduced cancer is extremely low, considering the radiation doses involved in each test. And there is no study showing that the risks outweigh the benefits in the recommended age range.

7. Quotation of nonsense as “a biopsy leads to cancer” is beyond the comprehension of any doctor with the least knowledge of cancer.

Thus, the outrage is because many women watching these videos may consider not having a mammogram. And that could mean losing the chance of detecting breast cancer at an early stage, where healing and less aggressive treatments can be offered.

National Commission of Mammography - Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, Brazilian Society of Mastology, Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations.

Sao Paulo, April 15, 2019

click here and download the clarification note


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