Breast-cancer screenings aren’t very effective, concludes Danish study

Stephen Gadd
January 10th, 2017

This article is more than 6 years old.

Misdiagnosis can lead to psychological damage that can last a lifetime, claims expert

A new Danish study carried out by the Cochrane Center has cast doubt on the effectiveness of breast-cancer screenings in general, reports Metroxpress.

The study indicates that screenings rarely detect the aggressive tumours that cause breast cancer, and that one out of three cases of breast cancer discovered by the screenings are probably over-diagnosed.

Failure to detect
“Screening programs either don’t pick up the fast-growing, aggressive tumours, or they first spot them when they have become large and it is too late,” explained researcher Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, the main author of the 17-year study, to Metroxpress.

Overall, he contends, the screenings are mainly finding small, slow-growing tumours and not contributing to lower mortality rates.

Psychological consequences
Furthermore, Professor John Brodersen, an expert on screenings, estimates a third of all breast cancer diagnoses are incorrect.

“For one in three of them, the disease would not have caused them problems”, he told Metroxpress.

“Over-diagnosis has severe physical and psychological consequences, and it is ethically unacceptable that prevention programs make patients out of healthy people. A diagnosis of breast cancer can have a significantly negative impact on woman, and it will probably affect her for the rest of her life.”


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