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New breast screening leaflet still denies women the full picture, says critic

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 24 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5735
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

The new breast cancer screening leaflet for UK women, updated last week after widespread consultation, still fails to spell out the true risks of mammography and denies women the chance to make a properly informed choice, a critic of the NHS’s screening information has said.

Susan Bewley, professor of complex obstetrics at King’s College London, told the BMJ that the leaflet does not contain crucial information derived by an independent panel last year: that for every 15 women who are given a diagnosis through screening and who will undergo treatment, only one life will be saved and three women will have been treated unnecessarily. Although the leaflet mentions overdiagnosis, it does not explain the harms of screening and overlooks the increased chance of mastectomy, she said. …

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