Breast screening 'does not save lives'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Breast cancer screening is "unjustified" and may lead to unnecessary aggressive treatment such as surgery, a study published today suggests.

Breast cancer screening is "unjustified" and may lead to unnecessary aggressive treatment such as surgery, a study published today suggests.

There is "no reliable evidence" that screening saves lives and it could increase the number of mastectomies (surgery to remove a woman's breasts) by 20 per cent, two Danish scientists claim.

They conducted a second review of the effectiveness of mammography because their first analysis, published in The Lancet in January of last year, was widely criticised. After re-examining the data, using a more rigorous technique, Dr Peter Gotszsche and Ole Olson said the results "confirmed and strengthened" their original conclusion.

But British cancer experts say this second study was as flawed as the first. A spokesman for the NHS breast cancer screening programme said screening was saving the lives of about 1,250 women and detecting 9,500 cancers a year.

The researchers, from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, argue that screening identifies slow-growing tumours and other benign cell irregularities that do not threaten a woman's health.

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