The February 11, 2002 New York Times article by GINA KOLATA and MICHAEL MOSS.
For decades, it was an article of medical faith: Get a mammogram; it could save your life.
Now, seemingly overnight, that faith has been shaken. The mammogram — that yearly ritual for millions of American women — has become the focus of a bitter and unusually public scientific dispute that is being fought in the pages of medical journals and the columns of daily newspapers. Scientists, policy makers and politicians have scheduled meetings and Congressional hearings.
In the end, though, there is not likely to be a quick answer to the central question of whether researchers were right when they said that screening healthy women reduces death from breast cancer or, to put it another way, whether women should still get that annual mammogram.
"What a mess, what a complete mess," said Cindy Pearson, executive director of the Women's National Health Network, an advocacy group that has been flooded in recent days with phone calls from anxious women. "They want to know what is all this based on, is there some sort of sneaky, behind-the-scenes thing going on?"
How that mess came to be is a story of science and politics and the business of medicine, and a war on cancer that seized upon mammography as a central weapon. It also is a story of the way science struggles toward an ever evolving "truth."