1.3 million overdiagnosed for breast cancer in US

Updated 24 November 2012
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1.3 million overdiagnosed for breast cancer in US

WASHINGTON: More than a million US women have received unnecessary and invasive cancer treatments over the last 30 years, thanks to routine mammograms that detected harmless tumors, scientists said Thursday.
The results throw new doubt over the effectiveness of an already controversial cancer-screening tool that is aimed at detecting tumors before they spread and become more difficult to treat.
To reach the one million figure, researchers compared the number of breast cancer cases detected at early and late stages among women over 40 between 1976 and 2008.
Their analysis showed that, since mammograms became standard in the United States, the number of early-stage breast cancers detected has doubled — in recent years, doctors found tumors in 234 women out of 100,000.
But in that same period, the rate of women diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer has dropped just eight percent — from 102 to 94 cases out of 100,000.
“We estimated that breast cancer was overdiagnosed — i.e., tumors were detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms — in 1.3 million US women in the past 30 years,” authors Gilbert Welch of Dartmouth Medical School and Archie Bleyer of the Oregon Health & Science University, wrote in a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“We estimated that in 2008, breast cancer was overdiagnosed in more than 70,000 women; this accounted for 31% of all breast cancers diagnosed,” they added.
These women likely received major medical interventions — including surgery, radiology, hormone therapy and chemotherapy — that ought only to be used when absolutely necessary, the authors stressed.
They also concluded the significant drop in breast cancer deaths can be best explained by the improvement in treatments, rather than the early detection through mammograms.
The research adds to other work published in recent years that throw into question whether mammograms ought to be performed regularly as a cancer prevention tool.
One often cited study, done in Norway, showed that regular mammograms reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by less than 10 percent.
Another study — which compared European countries where mammograms became routine in the 1990s with ones where they became common in the 2000s — concluded that the screening tool did not lessen the number of deaths at all.
Earlier, in 2009, a group of independent experts commissioned by the US government revised its recommendations for when and how often women should get mammograms.
The group said most women should wait until age 50, and go every other year for the screening, rather than every year starting at age 40.
A separate article, also published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, argued that, despite the risk of false positives and overdiagnosis, women should begin getting mammograms at age 40.
“Screening can be thought of as a kind of insurance. As with all insurance, there are costs for protection against adverse events that have a low probability of occurrence but could be catastrophic if they occurred without the insurance,” wrote Robert Smith.
“In that context, given the evidence, there are good reasons to begin screening at the age of 40,” he added.
Despite significant progress, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women and the one that kills the most women around the world.
Each year, another 1.4 million cases of the disease are diagnosed worldwide.


SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

US-Somali model Halima Aden has worked with SemSem in the past.
Updated 22 May 2018
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SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

Famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said that the city of Marrakesh taught him color. It seems that the Moroccan city has struck again, serving as the inspiration for SemSem’s bold Ramadan line this season.

With its mélange of cultural currents and cosmopolitan charge, the bustle of Marrakesh is manifest in SemSem’s red-based collection. A brassy fire-engine trench and gilded-blush maxi are among the highlights of the edit, available exclusively at luxury e-tailers The Modist and Ounass.

For those seeking bold, iftar-appropriate looks this season, SemSem’s berry-red jumpsuit or high-low hemmed jacquard top are both beautiful, souk-inspired statement pieces.  Floral prints appearing throughout the collection recall the Majorelle garden, Saint Laurent’s lush Marrakesh property. 

Separates, including tailored pants befitting the refined city-stroller, can be paired with the collection’s pleated tops or layered for dramatic effect. 

Self-consciously eschewing derivatives of slouched kaftans, the pieces all feature refined, structured cuts. True to the brand’s aesthetic, SemSem’s Ramadan collection is an unabashed ode to modern, metropolitan femininity.

 Founder Abeer Al-Otaiba, who originally hails from Egypt, says this year’s Ramadan edit was “deeply personal.

“I wanted it to be beautiful, impactful and reflective of my heritage,” Al-Otaiba said.  “I enjoy the sense of purpose Ramadan represents and I try to embrace all that it has to offer. Creating this collection is an extension of this time of introspection and celebration.”

A dedicated philanthropist with a degree in civil engineering and stints spent living across the Middle East, Europe and America, Al-Otaiba created SemSem in 2015 as a way to celebrate women and children across the globe. Bestowing the label with her daughter’s nickname, Al-Otaiba’s vision has allowed SemSem to mature in a few short years, emerging at the forefront of the luxury, ready-to-wear market.

With lines for both women and girls, the brand has become a favorite of multi-tasking mothers seeking balance and an elegant wardrobe with a charitable sense of purpose. Every season, Al-Otaiba teams up with a non-profit promoting the well-being of women and children. 

This year, 10 percent of the sales from the brand’s Ramadan collection sold at Ounass will go to causes supported by the Dubai Cares charity.

Previously, Al-Otaiba sought to raise awareness about maternal mortality rates and youth illiteracy, supporting organizations working across Africa to empower women and children. 

Insisting on the confluence of doing good and dressing well, SemSem has become a celebrity favorite, worn by conscientious Hollywood moms like Blake Lively and Kourtney Kardashian. 

Showing at Paris Fashion Week and regularly written up in Vogue, SemSem has brought a jet-set chic to mother-daughter wear. 

But the line’s ethos isn’t about red-carpet glitter. Encouraging mothers to instill a sense of global awareness and dedication to philanthropy in their daughters lies at the heart of SemSem’s mission. It’s a perfect conversation — and the perfect conversation-provoking ensembles— to have this Ramadan season.