Cancer patients 'over-diagnosed'

The UK breast screening programme may be damaging more women's lives than it saves and should be scrapped, according to a professor.

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Breast cancer screening 'should be axed'

The UK breast screening programme may be damaging more women's lives than it saves and should be scrapped, according to a professor.

We don't think a screening programme is justified because recent research has not found an effect on breast cancer mortality, whereas it's clear the programme does lead to harm because many healthy women get a cancer diagnosis that doesn't help them.

Screening detects a lot of cancers that are not dangerous. We call them over-diagnosed cancers, they are pretty harmless.

But many of these are treated by a mastectomy so when you introduce screening, you have more mastectomies. So seen over longer, there are more mastectomies in the screened areas.

– Professor Peter Gotzsche of the Cochrane Collaboration

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