A new study from the Netherlands suggest that the radiation from regular mammograms actually can increase the risk in young women who already have a high risk of breast cancer.
This finding comes just weeks after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a controversial recommendation to push back the start of regular mammogram screenings in healthy women without family medical history to 50.
This new study relied on no new data. Instead, the Dutch researchers analyzed data from six previous studies of 5,000 high-risk women. They found that in the group of high-risk women with a median age of 45, those who had five or more mammograms or chest X-rays were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
Advocacy groups like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society vociferously challenged the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation, and they question this new study's findings as well. "It's not as if clinicians are unaware and unconcerned about radiation risks in young women," Dr. Robert Smith, the American Cancer Society's director of cancer screening, told The New York Times. "If mammography offered no advantage, they wouldn't do it."