Public consultation about screening – comments invited until September.
People can also comment on behalf of a group
‘Research has shown most people want to be invited to screening’. Of course they do – they have not been told the truth about the harms (over-diagnosis, unnecessary biopsies/treatments/cancer label/ false negatives/false positives – the harm/benefit ratio. Also, there can be wide variation in pathologists’ diagnosis of the same sample, from benign to malignant. Then there’s the occasional radiation-induced cancer… And research has also shown that screening does not save breasts: a diagnosis of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) will likely result in mastectomy, though this is not a true cancer and may never progress.
A letter of invitation is an implicit recommendation to have screening. Most people will have been brain-washed into thinking screening is good for them/saves lives – because year on year screening information has told them this. But it has not been honest. That’s why, in the UK, an independent review is being held. So those who have not read (or read about) what is now a substantial body of research showing the harms will probably think most breast cancer patients who survive had their lives saved by screening. Understandably, they will find it hard to accept that screening is likely to harm, rather than benefit them. The implications for those who have been treated for breast cancer found via screening may be too dreadful to accept.
Unless those answering this survey have a very real understanding of the issues, the results will be meaningless. Yet the survey will contribute to future policy.
Breast cancer is very complex. Finding it early will not save life if the cancer is an aggressive type. Also, aggressive tumours that are fast growing are more likely to pop up between screenings. Most of the tumours found by screening would not have caused harm but ‘diagnosis’ leads to emotional distress and medical intervention.
For the fascinating inside story about breast cancer/screening see:
Breast Beating. A Personal Odyssey in the quest for an Understanding of Breast Cancer, the Meaning of Life and Other Easy Questions. Professor Michael Baum. Published by Anshan. ISBN 9781848290426
For facts about breast screening, research findings and attempts to suppress them see also:
Mammography screening. Truth, lies and controversy. Peter C Gotzsche. Radcliffe Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-184619-585-3 ‘The most effective way to decrease women’s risk of becoming a breast cancer patient is to avoid attending screening’.
For those who have not come across it yet, The Patient Paradox, by GP Margaret McCartney, describes the way healthy people are being turned into patients.