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India launches plan for national cancer screening programme

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5574 (Published 17 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5574

Re: India launches plan for national cancer screening programme

Screening, screening and more screening. Overdiagnosis, overdiagnosis and more overdiagnosis. Overtreatment, overtreatment and more overtreatment. Multiple studies from all over the world have reported that population-wide screening does not prevent mortality. Examples exist of the futility of screening using PAP smears, mammography, chest x-rays and PSA estimations.

There are ethical issues also involved. The government of India seems to have been lured by the pro-screening activists without having a balanced approach to the whole programme. A national debate on screening should be initiated on the pros and cons of screening. Especially when there are no appropriate care systems in place.

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 October 2016
Rajeev Gupta
Physician and Researcher
Rajasthan University of Health Sciences
Academic and Research Development Unit, Rajasthan University of Health Sciences, Kumbha Marg, Pratap Nagar, Jaipur 302033 India