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Lives saved by breast screening outnumber cases of overdiagnosis, review says

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6155 (Published 12 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6155
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

A Europe-wide review of breast cancer screening has concluded that the benefits in lives saved outweigh the risks of overdiagnosis.

The analysis, carried out by a working group from nine European countries, showed that for every 1000 women between the ages of 50 and 69 who are screened, between seven and nine lives are saved and four women are “overdiagnosed.”

The conclusion contradicts that of critics of breast cancer screening, who have argued that the number of women damaged by false positive findings exceeds the number who benefit by having their cancers detected earlier.

The new results are published in a special supplement of the Journal of Medical Screening.1

The analysis incorporated work …

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