Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening programs
Many countries worldwide invite women of a certain age and at certain intervals to take part in breast cancer screening programs. The reason behind these programs is that they should help lower the mortality rate in breast cancer patients. Usually, these programs take place every one or two years. The importance of screening programs, however, is highly debated and widely discussed.
A recent study, for example, declares that annual breast cancer screening with mammography starting at age 40 results in a nearly 40% reduction in breast cancer-specific deaths compared with screening at less frequent intervals.1 Another recent study, however, shows that breast screening is unlikely to reduce breast cancer mortality or lead to less invasive treatment, but rather risks over treating women.2
Benefits and harms for mammography screening3
The list, of course, is not complete. There are many more arguments for and against mammography screening. But what should one believe? Do the pros outweigh the cons – or vice versa? Whatever the opinion: In the end it’s every single life that could be saved that matters.