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BMJ article on harms of bc screening


Re: BMJ article on harms of bc screening

I have just read the article and one of the associated studies entitled 'Ten-Year Risk of False Positive Screening Mammograms and Clinical Breast Examinations'. This is a US study and I can't find where it says why there were false positive results.

What I was wondering is how anyone can say that mammogrammes give false positive results. Wouldn't any false positives results be as a result of misreading or misinterpretation of results by staff?

The article also refers to the information on screening that is provided to paients causing unnecessary worry to paients. When I had my screening and was then called back for further tests, the literature I was provided with did explain that most women are found to have normal breasts after the additional testing. I was also told by the person doing my additional mammos, that sometimes when you are being screened for the first time and there is something potentially suspicious, additional mammos may need to be taken from different angles purely because they don't have a previous mammo to compare it with.

I'm glad that I went along to my first screening as I had intermediate stage DCIS and had a WLE and rads as a result. If I hadn't bothered to attend I may have been looking at IDC in the future or IDC and secondaries so I am very glad I went.

I do appreciate though that if someone is found to have invasive cancer on screening that it is not necessarily going to mean that they survive it or live longer than they would have done otherwise. I do however feel that it may help by identifying those with 'in situ' cancerous cells and by having treatment it may prevent them from ever getting invasive cancers. If this minimises the number of people developing IDC then this must impact significantly on the mortality rate from that type of BC which must surely be a good thing.


Re: BMJ article on harms of bc screening

Thanks Lyn

I also think that women should be given more information about the benfits and and drawbacks of screening...the advantages are certainly over hyped.

I have read some good stuff on this subject but can't put my hands on links right now.



BMJ article on harms of bc screening

At http://tinyurl.com/dd9a4j

I know many people find this a contentious view, but I'm coming to the conclusion that the information given about screening badly needs revision. This article suggests some information that should be given as an evidence based counterbalance to the overwhelmingly positive view of screening that usually given. My opinion's not purely based on the fact that neither of my cancers was found on mammogram (and one wasn't found on a screening mammogram) but because I started looking at the controversy round PSA testing.

Timely article as I'm also in the middle of an excellent book about Screening, called - surprise - Screening - by Angela Raffle and Muir Gray