Public Release: 

Underdetection, not overdiagnosis, is the real problem in breast cancer screening

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News


IMAGE: Population Health Management ( is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online that reflects the expanding scope of health care management and quality. The Journal delivers a... view more

Credit: ©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, Sept 29, 2015-While screening mammography has a well-established history of reducing death from breast cancer and enabling earlier detection of breast disease, questions regarding overtreatment and overdiagnosis have entered the screening debate. A new review article discusses the topics of overdiagnosis and overtreatment and the role of providers and technology to address the issues in the context of population health. The article appears in a new supplement to Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The supplement is available free on the Population Health Management website.

"Implications of Overdiagnosis: Impact on Screening Mammography Practices" provides a detailed review of the benefits and limitations of current screening mammography practices, and outlines the complexities of the issues from both clinical and methodological perspectives. Coauthors Elizabeth Morris, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, NY), Stephen Feig, MD, University of California Irvine Medical Center and School of Medicine, Madeline Drexler, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA), and Constance Lehman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA) state that "the key goal should not be less diagnosis but better information and improved treatment decision tools." They describe the results of large-scale studies with a new imaging technology, breast tomosynthesis, which provides a digital, 3-dimensional, high resolution view of the breast that has been shown to reduce false recall (or false positive) rates by 15-30%, while at the same time increasing the overall cancer detection rate by about 29%.

"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," says Editor-in-Chief David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean and Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor, Jefferson School of Population Health (Philadelphia, PA), in his Editorial "Evidence in the Age of Social Media".

The supplement was funded by an educational grant from Hologic, Inc.®


About the Journal

Population Health Management is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online that reflects the expanding scope of health care management and quality. The Journal delivers a comprehensive, integrated approach to the field of population health and provides information designed to improve the systems and policies that affect health care quality, access, and outcomes. Comprised of peer-reviewed original research papers, clinical research, and case studies, the content encompasses a broad range of chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, depression, and obesity) in addition to focusing on various aspects of prevention and wellness. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Population Health Management website. Population Health Management is the official journal of the Population Health Alliance.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Women's Health, LGBT Health, Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, and Telemedicine and e-Health. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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