Breast screening – understanding why it doesn’t work

The ‘view that a breast cancer makes a stately progression through biologically distinct and distinguishable stages and that the grade worsens as the tumour enlarges (assumptions that are at the heart of the original explanation of how mammography “works”), are no longer part of mainstream thinking about breast cancer biology… It seems as if the “die is cast” fairly early in the life of a breast cancer. Intrinsic subtypes hold true as cancers grow and metastasize, and the sojourn time varies from subtype to subtype. Some breast cancers regress. Others grow very rapidly. These are not ideal biologic circumstances for the success of an “across the board” screening program. ‘ ‘Most women with a screen-detected breast cancer are (therefore) either diagnosed early (but with no effect on outcome) or are overdiagnosed.’ Screening mammography: the turning of the tide? W D Foulkes. Curr Oncol. 2014 Oct; 21(5): 205–207. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189559/05–207.

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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, breast screening, clinical trials, Compassion in healthcare, healthcare modernisation, Over-medicalisation, Screening and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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