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Patients are deceived over benefits and risks of screening, MPs hear

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3960 (Published 13 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3960
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Patients are prone to “deception” about the real risks and benefits of national screening in the United Kingdom, MPs have been told.

The full pros and cons of screening patients were too often poorly explained, skated over, or presented in a confusing manner, expert witnesses said during an evidence session of the House of Commons science and technology committee’s inquiry into national health screening.

MPs asked whether patients who agreed to participate in screening programmes fully understood the risks and benefits.

One witness was the former breast cancer surgeon Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery and visiting professor of medical humanities at University College London, representing Advocates for Honesty and Transparency in Breast Screening. He said, …

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