Breast Screening: issues re the IARC Report and also NHS BSP Age Extension RCT

Breast Screening: IARC report summary throws up questions

‘Experts question IARC report saying benefits of mammography in older women outweigh risks’
Susan Mayor, BMJ News,

-while a BMJ blog from Karsten J Jorgensen, 17 June 2015 explains concerns about the report:
Why do five recent reports on breast screening reach conflicting conclusions?
‘Since 2012, five collaborative efforts to quantify the benefits and harms of breast screening have been published. These are the UK Independent Review, the EUROSCREEN Working Group series (both 2012), the Swiss Medical Board report (2014), the updated IARC/WHO Handbook, and a report from the Research Council of Norway (both 2015)…’

‘While the panels for the UK and Swiss report consisted of recognized experts in fields not directly associated with, but relevant for, breast screening, the panel members of the WHO/IARC report were primarily chosen among researchers of breast screening. However, the process of selection is not clear, and key members are predominantly from one side of the scientific controversy. One member has already criticized the report. All the “Big Five” journals have published papers that have raised substantial doubts about whether breast screening does more harm than good, but none of the authors were panel members. The WHO/IARC claimed to have chosen members so that the panel was balanced and without conflicts of interest. But several key members have advocated strongly for breast screening for decades, are employed in patient organisations that have advocated and lobbied for breast screening, or are heads of national screening programmes…’


and, in a bmj rapid response to
‘Experts question IARC report saying benefits of mammography in older women outweigh risks’,
Professor Susan Bewley explains why there are still major concerns about the NHS Breast Screening Trial:

‘More Information, but still no assurance of informed consent for the largest human experiment ever undertaken
‘…Public Health England have confirmed they do not have to aspire to the highest standards of communication and research, ie Good Clinical Practice [6]. Following the 2012 independent Marmot report which distinguished good and bad science [7], and the increasing evidence that information aids improve informed decision making [8], we fail to understand NHS BSPs reluctance to tell women the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this flawed screening modality…’

Professor Susan Bewley, 15 June 2015

Breast Screening Trial – update

For an explanation of concerns over breast screening and the Age Extension Trial, see the latest HealthWatch UK update…


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 bad science, Breast Cancer, breast screening, clinical trials, Compassion in healthcare, healthcare modernisation, Over-medicalisation, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, patient safety and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Breast Screening: issues re the IARC Report and also NHS BSP Age Extension RCT

  1. Therese Taylor says:

    Hi Mitzi,
    Thank you for keeping me informed about what’s going on in the U.K.

  2. bmitzi says:

    You are welcome, Therese.

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