HEALTH -- September 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM ET
Harvard study claims earlier mammograms could save lives
Let the debate begin ... again. New research from Harvard University suggests mammograms before age 50 could drastically reduce the number of breast cancer deaths.
The study, published Monday, followed more than 7,300 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Among the 600 who died, 65 percent had never had a mammogram. Earlier screening may have saved lives, the researchers said.
It's a conclusion that stands to reignite a long-standing debate about the value of mammograms. In 2009, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against mammograms until after 50, and then only every two years. Earlier tests do far more harm than good, the panel said.
Watch the NewsHour's in-depth broadcast coverage of the debate here, then read more about why some doctors say yearly mammograms can be harmful and why some say they're crucially important. For a visual breakdown of both sides, check out our infographic.