Underdetection is the real problem with breast cancer screening

Underdetection is the real problem with breast cancer screeningOvertesting and overdiagnosis of breast cancer have become well-discussed issues as of late. With the use of mammograms to enable earlier detection, overdiagnosis has been well debated. A new report discusses the issues of overdiagnosis and overtreatment in regards to breast cancer.

A report titled Implications of Overdiagnosis: Impact on Screening Mammography Practices, outlines the pros and cons of mammogram screening guidelines. The authors stated, “The key goal should not be less diagnosis but better information and improved treatment decision tools.”


The researchers used the results from a new imaging tool, called digital tomosynthesis, in several large-scale studies. The tomosynthesis technology takes high resolution 3D images of the breast to reduce false positives (also known as false recall). They were able to reduce the rates by 15 to 30 percent while also increasing the rates of cancer detection by 29 percent.

The went on to say, “This supplement contains a well-researched, balanced discussion of the evidence on a controversial topic – overdiagnosis as it relates to mammography screening practices – and presents a strong case for considering newer screening technologies as important tools for reducing the likelihood of overdiagnosis of breast cancer.”

Their report can be read for free online on the Population Health Management website.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.