Breast screening was thought to detect cancer before it had spread, but a new Danish study of Norwegian women’s screening results shows that breast screening does not detect those aggressive killer cancers early enough. Screening detects mainly ‘dormant’ cancers that are slow growing and usually not fatal, and many of them would never become a problem in a lifetime (overdiagnosis/overtreatment).
“The objective of breast screening is to prevent the aggressive and deadly types of cancer, but our study shows that the screening only has a minimal effect on the number of women who develop aggressive breast cancer,” says Henrik Støvring, an associate professor at the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University, Denmark, and lead author of the new study, published in the European Journal of Public Health. Eur J Public Health (2014) doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku015 First published online: March 4, 2014.
‘If the screening had a preventive effect and caught the dangerous types of breast cancer before they spread, we would be seeing a significant decline in the number of women whose cancer has actually managed to spread and thus becomes much harder to treat. But we’re not seeing such a decline.’ he says.
See also: Screening does not prevent aggressive breast cancer. Bo Christensen, ScienceNordic, March 16, 2014 – 06:23