Dartmouth’s Gilbert Welch, a well-known analyst of the usefulness of mammography, found that since the early 1980’s — when screening mammography was widely introduced — there has been a doubling in the rate of early stage breast cancer. The problem, he says, is we’re not seeing what should be a corresponding decrease in late stage cancer.

The endless debate over routine mammograms is getting another kick from an analysis that sharply questions whether the test really does what it’s supposed to. Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, coauthor of the analysis of mammography’s impact, which was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tell Shots that the aim was to “get down to a very basic question.”

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