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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

More questions on value of mammograms

Study shows little reduction in cancer deaths

In a research finding that will add to doubts about the value of breast cancer screening, Canadian researchers determined that women ages 40 to 59 who had yearly mammograms enjoyed no added survival benefit up to 25 years later compared with those who skipped the screening X-rays.

The trial, involving 90,000 women who were randomly assigned to have screenings or be in a control group, reached a conclusion at odds with other large studies, which found fewer breast cancer deaths among women who began screening at age 50 or, in a handful of studies, at age 40. The latest finding, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, confirms earlier results from the Canadian trial, which first came out two decades ago and is unlikely to discourage many doctors from recommending screening.

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