Benefits of mammography screening outweigh adverse effects

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Mammography screening. OPS-OMS/Sebastián Oliel

A new study shows that the benefits of mammography screening outweigh adverse effects for women aged 50 to 69 years old.

A group of 29 independent international experts recently assessed both the cancer-preventive and adverse effects of various methods of screening for breast cancer.

The study was convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

A summary of the results was published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Breast cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide.

Here's Doctor Beatrice Lauby from the IARC.

There are a number of harms associated with breast cancer screening, and the working group considered and evaluated all the available studies. And after careful evaluation of the balance between the benefits and adverse effects of mammography screening, the working group concluded that there is a net benefit from inviting women aged 50 to 69 to receive screening.

Women of that age group who attended mammography screening had a reduction in breast cancer mortality of around 40 per cent.

The most important harms of early detection of breast cancer by mammography screening are false-positive results, over-diagnosis, and radiation-induced breast cancer. 

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 58"

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