Breast Cancer Screening
Health professionals will be aware of recent controversies regarding the advantages and disadvantages of breast cancer screening, as discussed in issues of Australian Doctor and the columns of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The latter published a review of the British mammographic breast screening program, which found that screening had little if any net benefit in the first ten years after a woman commenced screening, with later benefits being less than originally claimed. Health practitioners should point out to patients seeking guidance that there are potential disadvantages from screening, including over-diagnosis and false positive findings, leading to anxiety and unnecessary diagnostic or surgical procedures. It still appears appropriate to recommend screening to women aged 50-69, but to caution them about the issues involved.
For more information on breast cancer screening, please refer to the BreastScreen Australia program.
Content created 19 January 2012