In the News

Shannon Brownlee Appears on Broadside: Doubts about Mammograms

Broadside, NECN
February 19, 2014

Have women been getting the wrong advice about breast cancer? Shannon Brownlee, the senior vice president of the Lown Institute and author of ‘Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer’ joined NECN to discuss.

Brownlee says that mammograms can be harmful to those seeking treatment. She says that she thinks money could be a factor as to why they remain popular.

“No physician and no hospital administrator wants to think ‘we’re doing this to make money.’ But, the fact is there’s an enormous amount of money invested in the cancer industry, and it’s going to be very hard to sort of change the way we’ve invested,” Brownlee said.

To address this issue, Brownlee said that patients and physicians should be talking out alternate treatment options. She said that often, neither of the parties know what the downsides to a mammogram are.

“One of the problems with our current system is that we don’t give primary care doctors, in particular, the time that they need to be able to sit and talk with patients,” Brownlee explained.

In addition, Brownlee talked about changing the intellectual, emotional, and cultural viewpoint of breast cancer treatment with the Lown Institute, through an initiative they call the Right Care Alliance.

Brownlee did say that mortality rates are dropping, possibly due to better treatment, even as doubts about mammograms surface.

To watch the segment, click here.