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NHS Breast cancer screening could cause over-diagnosis, reform set up

Written on:October 30, 2023
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UK cancer charities have said women should choose whether to undergo breast screening

Breast cancer screening in the UK conducted by NHS, for which more than 2 million females are invited every year, is going to be reformed as the invited females are to be provided with more data now about the possible troubles of being tested. Professor Sir Mike Richards, the national cancer director, has remarked that screening had become a zone of contentiousness.

An autonomous review, established to ascertain whether the screening did more harm than good, demonstrated that, for every life rescued, three females underwent treatment for a cancer, which would never have been lethal. This review had been published in the Lancet medical journal.

The additional data that will now be provided to females will be in leaflets so that females receive informed choices. But cancer charities state that women should choose whether to be screened.

Screening has been an event in the UK for more than 20 years in order to diagnose breast cancer early so that breast cancer treatment can be provided when it is likelier to rescue lives. Females, aged between 50 and 70, are invited to have a mammogram every three years.

The worries over screening are related to the concept of ‘over-diagnosis’, which appropriately identifies a tumour, but one that wouldn’t have been fatal. Detractors of screening state that over-diagnosis makes women, who would have otherwise experienced robust and full lives, undergo treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, which can have substantial side effects.

Breast cancer research hasn’t yet been able to prove authoritatively which tumours will be lethal and which could have been left untreated. Breast cancer awareness camps are organised across the world to instill consciousness in people regarding the disease.

Sir Mike Richards has voiced that the leaflets would be updated over the coming weeks to present unprejudiced and unambiguous data to women about the pros and cons of screening so that women can make an independent choice. Richards favoured the continuation of the screening programme.

Richard Winder, the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme’s deputy director, has said he is satisfied that the review acknowledged the helpfulness of NHS screening programme.

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One Comment add one

  1. Miley says:

    Good…. women should have more information about these screenings….it will only help the women…

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