‘Switzerland looks set to be the first country in Europe to halt routine breast screening; yet in the UK a review of the same evidence came to the opposite conclusion. Dr Mark Porter asks how two groups of experts can arrive at such different decisions, and examines the harms and benefits of screening for breast cancer.’
Some good sense talked on this programme, with a consensus that women need full information if they are to make an informed choice about breast screening (but the NHS breast screening leaflet is still inadequate to show women the level risk they run by attending screening (overdiagnosis leading to overtreatment – partial or total loss of a breast and maybe chemo/radiation, and that’s as well as false positives, and false negatives – the extent of these) or the pitiful possibility of benefit). Pity Sir Michael Marmot did not mention that his report found the harms of breast screening outweighed the benefits by 3 to 1, if that. He also said all the cancers found, including DCIS, were ‘cancers’, whereas there have been calls to rename this condition, because it is not actually a cancer and may never become a problem in a woman’s lifetime. Also, I found it disconcerting that he seemed to welcome the screening age extensions, which put women into a randomised controlled trial although they still are not getting the full information needed to make an informed choice, let alone being told explicitly they are being entered into a trial.