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Review puts merits of breast cancer screening under the microscope


A review has called into question the success of the UK national breast screening programme. Although the programme offers
tests to almost two million women a year, clinic many argue that it harms almost as many women as it helps
and therefore must be urgently re-evaluated.

The benefits of breast screening – early detection of cancer followed by
rapid treatment – are finely balanced against the harms of
overdiagnosis followed by unnecessary treatment and suffering, viagra order and have
never been properly weighed against each other, viagra buy the review by a leading
epidemiologist says.

The central drawback of screening is that in some
cases the cancer (or other disease) detected does not need treating,
either because it is a false alarm, because it resolves naturally or
because it is very slow growing (so you die of something else). In these
cases, the only result of screening is that the individual spends more
of their life living in the shadow of cancer, without living longer.
They may be treated, and suffer pain and anxiety, to no avail.

Fi Godleee, editor of the BMJ, said: "I don't think the public understands that screening
carries both risks and benefits. Often doctors don't either – they are
caught up by the notion that prevention is better than cure. If you are
intervening with a healthy population in the hope you can make their
lives better and longer then the burden of proof is much higher and the
strength of the evidence you need greater."

More on this from The Independent.

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