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Trial to extend breast cancer screening won’t resume randomisation after pandemic

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 26 August 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3337
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

A major UK breast cancer screening trial that was set up to determine whether extending the age bracket to include women aged 47-49 and 71-73 would reduce mortality will not restart randomisation after the covid-19 pandemic.

The trial randomised women aged 47-49 and 71-73 in England so that half would receive a screening invitation outside the normal age bracket (50-70 years). The trial was halted alongside other screening services to allow the NHS to cope with covid-19, but the researchers have announced that randomisation will not resume.

However, they said that follow-up by electronic linkage to routine government records will continue “throughout the 2020s and beyond.”

The announcement was welcomed by those who had criticised the trial for a lack of explicit and fully informed consent …

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