UK Review Affirms Breast Screening Saves Lives

Published 31 October 2012 By beth.alcorn
UK Review Affirms Breast Screening Saves Lives

BreastScreen Victoria welcomes the release of an independent British review of the benefits and harms of breast cancer screening.

The review published in The Lancet yesterday determined that breast screening saves lives and the benefit of regular mammograms outweighs the risks of overdiagnosis.

“Overdiagnosis occurs when cancers that would never have caused any harm are diagnosed and treated. However, at this stage it’s not possible to distinguish between breast cancers that are life threatening and those that are unlikely to progress during a woman’s lifetime,” said BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore.

The review determined that for every 1000 women screened over 20 years, 5 lives are saved. However, 17 women will be diagnosed and treated for a cancer that would never have caused them any problem because she will die from an unrelated cause.

In 2010, 3499 Victorian women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 763 women died from the disease.

The review concluded that the UK BreastScreen Program has significant benefit and should continue.

Like the UK Breast screen program, BreastScreen Victoria offers free mammographic screening to women in the target age group of 50 to 69.

“Mammography is the proven gold standard for early breast cancer detection.  The program is designed to detect breast cancer at an early stage, which saves lives."

The panel identified the need to provide more balanced information about the harms and benefits for women who use breast screening programs.

"To screen or not to screen is a personal choice and women require balanced up to date information about the potential benefits and harms of screening."

You can find ‘The Benefits and Harms of Breast Cancer Screening: An Independent Review’ here.

Find out further information about Screening Benefits and Risks.

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