A patient perspective on breast cancer screening

In a ‘patient perspective’, ‘Breast cancer screening: an ethical dilemma or an opportunity for openness?’ published in the April edition of Quality in Primary Care, I consider the evidence showing lack of effectiveness and major harms of the NHS Breast Screening Programme and question the ethics of running an Age Extension Randomised Controlled Trial at all, let alone before an Independent Review of the programme had concluded. I wonder why, when those who attend mammographic screening are three times as likely to be ‘over-diagnosed’ (and over-treated) as to benefit (Marmot Report – and even this benefit is disputed), women continue to receive an unsolicited appointment which seems to endorse screening as beneficial. As for consent: ‘Professor Sir Mike Richards said the decision to be screened should be a woman’s choice – but he also said screening was still recommended.’

I also question the GP role, sign-posted as a source of further information, when GPs may be paid to encourage women to participate in breast screening (as well as other interventions) as part of ‘local enhanced services payments’ (confirmed by the Department of Health in a telephone conversation 26 November 2012). ‘Are they content to be placed in a position which undermines trust and could break the doctor/patient relationship?’ And how about those involved in the screening programme/industry – they did not train in order to cause harm.

Blennerhassett M. Breast cancer screening: an ethical dilemma, or an opportunity for openness? Quality in Primary Care.2013; 21:39-42.


About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
This entry was posted in Breast Cancer, Campaigns, clinical trials, Compassion in healthcare, patient safety, Screening, Screening Mammography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A patient perspective on breast cancer screening

  1. Bettye says:

    I believe what you said made a lot of sense. But, what about this?

    what if you wrote a catchier title? I ain’t saying your content is not good., however what if you added something that makes people want more? I mean A patient perspective on breast cancer screening | Even stars explode is a little plain. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they write article
    headlines to get people to click. You might add
    a video or a pic or two to get readers excited about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

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