Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening

The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: An independent review. British journal of cancer, 2013, 108 p.2205-40.

Marmot, M.G., et al.

The breast cancer screening programmes in the United Kingdom currently invite women aged 50–70 years for screening mammography every 3 years. Since the time the screening programmes were established, there has been debate, at times sharply polarised, over the magnitude of their benefit and harm, and the balance between them. The expected major benefit is reduction in mortality from breast cancer. The major harm is overdiagnosis and its consequences; overdiagnosis refers to the detection of cancers on screening, which would not have become clinically apparent in the woman’s lifetime in the absence of screening. Professor Sir Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, England, and Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Research UK, asked Professor Sir Michael Marmot to convene and chair an independent panel to review the evidence on benefits and harms of breast screening in the context of the UK breast screening programmes. The panel, authors of this report, reviewed the extensive literature and heard testimony from experts in the field who were the main contributors to the debate.