France Considers Terminating Breast Screening Programme

An independent review of breast screening in France has prompted officials to consider terminating the programme.  France is the most recent European country to consider putting an end to breast screening.

Two main findings continue to surface each time a country conducts an extensive review of the evidence.  The first finding is that there is a lack of reliable evidence to support the claim that breast screening can save lives.  The second finding focuses on the harms caused by breast screening; the incidence of overdiagnosis that can lead to unnecessary and harmful interventions.

These findings are compelling and are spearheading changes to breast cancer screening programmes.

In 2014 Switzerland concluded that “no new systematic mammography screening programs be introduced, and that a time limit should be placed on existing programs.”  The Swiss medical board’s expert panel examined evidence that included the finding that the benefits of screening do not outweigh the harms:

  •  one of the largest and longest study on mammography screening concluded  mammograms have absolutely NO impact on breast cancer mortality
  • 22% of the women in the study were over diagnosed and underwent unnecessary interventions, which included needless surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or some combination of these

In Denmark a large cohort study examined tumor size and overdiagnosis.  The study concluded that breast cancer screening was NOT associated with a reduction in the incidence of advanced cancer and also that it was “likely that 1 in every 3 invasive tumors and cases of DCIS diagnosed in women offered screening represent overdiagnosis”.

In 2017 France published an article that outlines proposed changes to the breast screening programme.  Following a review of the evidence, french officials found that there was a great deal of uncertainty about the benefits of screening.  They also found that “breast screening leads to substantial overdiagnosis, and that patient information on breast screening should be more transparent and neutral”.

There is no reliable evidence to support the claim that mammography screening saves lives, but there is clear evidence that mammography screening can cause harm.

Thanks Adawells for providing the original link and information for this post


About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
Gallery | This entry was posted in breast cancer screening, health, women's health and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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