The harms and benefits of modern screening mammography. Joann G Elmore, Russell P Harris.
‘Women need more balanced information’.
and linked paper:
Modern mammography screening and breast cancer mortality: population study. Harald Weedon-Fekjær, researcher, Pål R Romundstad, Lars J Vatten.
Future rapid responses to both the above are likely to be lively.
Also on the same theme, Paul Taylor takes a look at Breast Cancer Screening with an article of that title in the London Review of Books. Vol. 36 No. 11 · 5 June 2014
I’ve noticed that when the risks or harms of breast screening are mentioned, there is not usually a comprehensive list. Sometimes, only ‘unnecessary biopsies and anxiety’ are mentioned; ‘overdiagnosis’ is still confused with ‘false positive’ and many women do not realise that overdiagnosis leads to actual treatment.
Often, the consequences of a ‘cancer patient’ label’ are not spelled out (eg insurance difficulties) let alone side effects of treatment – which may be a lifelong condition eg lymphoedema (and, after treatment, even the risk of lymphoedema is lifelong!) and which may necessitate wearing a thick, tight compression garment – even in hot weather.
Concentrating only on statistics of ‘survivors’ of breast cancer does not acknowledge the effects of treatment on quality of life of those women and their families. I wonder how many of those women accepting an invitation to breast screening today will even have heard of ‘lymphoedema’?
(See http://www.lymphoedema.org/ St. Lukes Crypt/Sydney St, London SW3 6NH
020 7351 0990.)