Mammography for Black Women: Why I Won’t Be Silent Anymore

“Mammography for Black Women: Why I Won’t Be Silent Anymore.” By Tracy Weitz, The Source, Breast Cancer Action.

Back in February, a new study, this one published in the BMJ, again questioned the value of screening mammography in the general population . This is a “gold standard” study with a large randomized sample followed over a significant time period: “Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial.”

This study from Canada found no reduction in mortality among women diagnosed with breast cancer discovered with or without mammography. Breast Cancer Action immediately raised our longstanding concerns about the lack of clear benefit to screening (as opposed to diagnostic) use of mammography in the general population. In responding to the study, the question was rightfully raised about why a study of almost all white women could be extrapolated to say anything about the value of mammography in the African American population.

Had I made that easy slip of assuming that studies about white women can be universalized to all women?

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