Women still being advised to get mammograms, even though doctors know they do more harm than good…….
Two of the responses to an editorial by Julietta Patnick, Director NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, (Benefits of screening take years to appreciate -bmj 16 January 2013 – BMJ 2013;346:f299) are especially noteworthy. One, from Hazel Thornton, explains the difference between risks and harms, and points out that ‘harms’ are not mentioned in this article, even though breast screening has been shown to inflict harm on more people than it helps.
‘* A risk is “the probability of harm taking place. It is not possible to directly compare benefits and risks because one is an outcome while the other is the probability of an outcome.” ’
The other from GP, Dr Jonathan D Sleath, says he regularly talks to patients about breast screening, but the risks are not immediately evident to them. ‘The risks associated with overdiagnosis are glossed over in the NHS breast cancer screening leaflet with the single…
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