latest health care news

30.10.12

4,000 cases of overdiagnosis from breast cancer screening

Breast cancer screening reduces deaths but also results in overdiagnosis, an independent panel has concluded.

The Breast Cancer Screening Review found that around 4,000 women a year will undergo unnecessary treatment for tumours which would otherwise have remained undetected and harmless.

Screening allows early detection of breast cancer, which offers the opportunity for earlier treatment and improved prognosis. The panel, set up by Cancer Research UK, found that women who attend the screening programme are at 20% less risk of dying from breast cancer.

The review recommends screening for 50-70 year old women should continue, as the mammography saves around 1,300 lives each year.

The Panel estimated that for 10,000 women invited to screening from age 50 for 20 years, about 681 cancers will be found, of which 129 will represent overdiagnosis, and 43 deaths from breast cancer will be prevented.

Professor Marmot, chair of the panel, said: “For each woman, the choice is clear. On the positive side, screening confers a reduction in the risk of mortality of breast cancer because of early detection and treatment.

“On the negative side, is the knowledge that she has perhaps a 1% chance of having a cancer diagnosed and treated that would never have caused problems if she had not been screened.

“Clear communication of these harms and benefits to women is essential, and the core of how a modern health system should function.”

A Lancet Editorial, published alongside the Review, concludes: “Overall, the benefits outweigh the harms…Women need to have full and complete access to this latest evidence in order to make an informed choice about breast cancer screening.”

National cancer director Sir Mike Richards said the Government was revising the leaflet that invites women for screening so that they can make an informed decision on whether to attend.

In a joint statement Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign and Breast Cancer Care said: “This is good news for women as they can now be assured that breast screening can be beneficial.”

The charities reiterated the importance of access to clear and balanced information for women invited to screening.

And on balance, Cancer Research UK recommends that women still attend the screening programme.

The review is at: www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61611-0/abstract

More on this story in the next edition of National Health Executive.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Image c. euthman

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Providers are delivering – and here’s how

09/10/2019Providers are delivering – and here’s how

It has been a challenging few years for healthcare providers, yet they have continued to deliver high quality care despite the conditions. Adam Brimelow, director of comm... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >