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London Breast Cancer Expert comments on misleading breast cancer screening advice.

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:46pm

“The letter recently published in the BMJ (Baum et al, Feb.2009) and widely circulated in the national media in the UK regarding breast cancer screening lacks objectivity and scientific accuracy.

The letter is characterised by a biased selection of evidence from the scientific literature in order to underestimate the benefit of breast cancer screening by at least 4 times. It is very unlikely that such a publication has been subjected to a thorough peer-reviewing process. Although we agree that some (approximately 40%) DCIS (non-invasive) lesions may not progress to invasive cancer during lifetime however we currently have no scientific test that can accurately identify these lesions. We therefore recommend treatment for all non-invasive tumours detected by screening. The overall evidence undoubtedly demonstrates that breast cancer screening significantly reduces the probability of dying from breast cancer. Women aged 40 years and older should continue to participate in breast cancer screening programs on an informed basis in line with The American Cancer Society recommendations”.

Prof. Kefah Mokbel, Professor of Breast Cancer Surgery, Lead Surgeon at the London Breast Institute

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Tags: breast cancer screening, breast cancer surgery

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