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Views And Reviews Primary Colour

Helen Salisbury: Should I persuade patients to have mammograms?

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1409 (Published 03 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1409

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Re: Helen Salisbury: Should I persuade patients to have mammograms? The "catch it early" myth

Helen Salisbury is quite right. We do not know if the benefits of screening mammography exceed the harms. The problem is though that to the public the "catch it early" slogan is divine truth. The public does not know what "it" and "early" are. "It" may be a harmless in-situ carcinoma or benign microcalcification, and "early" may be a small tumour that has metastasised widely. Fortunes are being wasted on screening and many lives are being devastated..

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 April 2019
Roger H Armour
Retired consultant surgeon
Lister Hospital Stevenage
Hitchin, Hertfordshire