Risk-benefit assessment hits the headlines

Hopefully the latest media story surrounding breast cancer screening is raising public awareness of the risk-benefit considerations which healthcare professionals and government advisors are constantly having to battle with.

The research being heavily publicised at the moment is from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, published in the Journal of Medical Screening. The authors have assessed the risks and benefits of mass-screening for breast cancer in both England and Sweden and have concluded that mass-mammograms are in fact more helpful than harmful.

This study of 80,000 women reported that:

  • 5.7 breast cancer deaths were prevented for every 1,000 women screened over a 20-year period in England.
  • 2.3 women per 1,000 were ‘over-diagnosed’ (diagnosis with cancer as a result of screening that would not have been diagnosed in the women’s lifetime had the screening not taken place).
  • Between 2 and 2.5 lives were saved for every overdiagnosed case.

To view the way the statistics have been reported visit these (and other) news sources:




Or view the original publication.

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