Breast-screening tests could lead to unnecessary treatment,” say experts

February 20th, 2009 - 6:11 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 20 (ANI): Brit experts have cautioned that repeated breast screening tests could lead to unnecessary treatment while women remain ignorant of the risks.

Attacking the Governments “unethical” leaflets for mammograms, they have said that these pieces of paper “do not come close to telling the truth.

Twenty-three leading specialists have warned that breast cancer screening can lead to patients being given unnecessary surgery or chemotherapy.

They also claimed that in case cancers detected by the programme were left alone, many “might never appear in a woman’’s natural lifespan.

The warning comes in line with an analysis by the Nordic Cochrane Centre, which found that if 2,000 women were screened for ten years, 10 would be treated unnecessarily.

And a warning letter, signed by public health specialists, epidemiologists, oncologists, GPs and patient representatives, has been sent to the Times newspaper.

The criticism follows the warning by doctors that recent trends to reduce the physical marks caused by breast cancer surgery risk “losing some of the gain in survival” seen in the past decade.

And experts have cautioned that the stress on ensuring that breast surgery does not look unsightly may be at the risk of survival rates.

Monica Morrow, chief of the Breast Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, said that minimally invasive surgery might not be the best for patients.

“Failure to demand a rigorous evaluation of oncological outcomes as well as cosmetic ones runs the risk of losing some of the gains in survival seen in the past decade,” the Telegraph quoted her as writing in the British Medical Journal.

She added: “The local treatment of breast cancer is based on the results of numerous high quality clinical trials and is therefore a model for evidence based care. As we attempt to advance from good to great cosmetic outcomes it is important that we remember this. (ANI)

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