News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Breast cancer screening programme targets women too soon

26 June 2014

Breast cancer screening programme targets women too soon: researchers

New Zealand should re-consider the age at which its breast cancer screening programme starts in light of growing questions about the balance of benefits and harms for women under 50, public health experts from the University of Otago Wellington say.

In two new posts on the Public Health Expert blog, the researchers examine the possibility that the balance of benefits and harms of breast cancer screening is much less favourable than previously thought due to over-detection of cancers and other issues.

Advances in breast cancer treatment since randomised control trials (RCTs) of screening in the 1970s and early 80s have been substantial, and consequently survival and mortality have improved considerably, they write.

The trials on which the mortality benefit is estimated from are increasingly old and many have flaws in them. However the degree to which the flaws invalidate the results is a source of disagreement among experts, they say.

“There is the possibility that improved treatments in the decades since the RCTS were conducted have altered the absolute benefit of screening - as mortality has reduced due to better treatment the importance of early diagnosis through screening may have lessened.”

The extent of over diagnosis - the key harm of breast cancer screening - is hotly contested, they say.

“It is not disputed that there is over diagnosis and over treatment, but the extent of and best way to measure over diagnosis are not clear.”

They write that screening in women under 50 is not recommended by any of the independent bodies who have reviewed the evidence and no screening programmes in the UK, Canada or Australia start at under 50.

“The balance of benefits and harms in this age group is not favourable. In New Zealand we need to stop screening women under 50 and start being more honest about the lack of clarity about the evidence for screening in older women.”

The blog posts are written by Dr Caroline Shaw and Associate Professor Diana Sarfati.

Full URLs:
https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2014/06/23/we-need-to-talk-about-breast-cancer-screening-part-1/
https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2014/06/26/we-need-to-talk-about-breast-cancer-screening-part-2/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Music: Lorde NZ Tour Confirmed In Four Major Cities!

In what will be her first ever New Zealand headline tour, Frontier Touring and Brent Eccles Entertainment are stoked to bring you four epic shows across the country! The all ages concerts take place late October/ early November in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Poor Economics

A review of and excerpt from Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple’s Child Poverty in New Zealand. More>>

Head Count: Highest Population Growth Since 2003

The country’s population grew by 67,800 people, or 1.5 percent, in the year to 30 June 2014. This came from natural increase (births minus deaths) of 29,500 and net migration (arrivals minus departures) of 38,300. New Zealand's estimated resident population was 4.51 million at 30 June 2014. More>>

Fun-Enhancement: Research To Ensure Even Game For Less Skilled Players

A University of Canterbury engineering PhD student is researching sports, such as table tennis, to ensure closer games for both better and less skilled players. More>>

Werewolf: From The Lost Continent

It’s a case of better late than never for Olivier Assayas’ marvellous After May/Apres Mai, which first screened at Venice in 2012, got a theatrical release in Australia – but not here – and only now appears on DVD, after Assayas himself has moved on. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Blue Eyed & Soulful

Last year’s Muscle Shoals documentary was a reminder that on some of soul music’s most hallowed tracks, the studio band consisted of a bunch of white guys from rural Alabama... More>>

ALSO:

Final Event - Number Crunching: NZ Fifth Best Performer At Commonwealth Games

With a haul of 45 medals, New Zealand has outperformed the best predictions of the world’s number crunchers by 440% and beaten our past performance at the Commonwealth Games by 11% per cent, according to a Massey University finance lecturer. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news