Shoofoolatte is right. There are a lot of misconceptions about early detection. Mammograms are likely to miss invasive cancers because those cancers grow so fast they can become deadly between screenings. They’re more likely to catch cancers that rarely become fatal. See http://youtu.be/C-DnznA0m9k by Dartmouth physician/professor Gilbert Welch:
He also notes that comparing survival rates can be misleading. Survival rates will always seem higher in a screened population even when the actual death rate is not changed:
What IS true is that it’s easy to get mammograms and they’re often free, especially if you have time to make an appointment. In many health systems – including HMOs – the doctors are so busy recommending unnecessary “preventive” medicine – with no evidence of positive outcome – that they have no time to see people with urgent conditions.
Mammograms can give people false security or they can get people into treatment that is useless, expensive and even harmful. The NNT is 2500 – you need to screen 2500 women to save one life. Yet we’re putting millions into mammography and some doctors won’t treat women who refuse, while making it difficult for women to get treated after diagnosis. It would be nice if we had medicine by science, not ideology.