english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > 100 most recent > Discussion-debate : "Is too much cancer screening hazardous to your health? The example of breast cancer"


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Discussion-debate : "Is too much cancer screening hazardous to your health? The example of breast cancer"

Prix Prescrire 2011Peter Gøtzsche, a world-renowned expert in the systematic review of clinical trial data, has for many years been studying the question of breast cancer screening. He came to the ceremony for the "Prescrire Prize" book awards in Paris on 4 October 2012 to present his analysis of the limited benefits of such screening, and the real and frequent harms that it causes.

All too often, the limitations and the adverse effects of breast cancer screening are not mentioned in the public campaigns urging women to participate in screening, most notably in France. This means that women are not able to make fully informed choices.

Until now, the debate over the appropriateness of organised breast cancer screening was more a matter of convictions than of well-substantiated positions.

For Prescrire, it is high time, in France and elsewhere, to go beyond the petty bickering and the sterile controversy, too often tinged with emotion, irrationality and even bad faith. To decide whether organised screening for breast cancer is appropriate or not, it is time to rely upon clinical evaluation data and to weigh the pros and the cons with women, who are the most closely concerned parties, with healthcare professionals and with public health "decision-makers". Without prejudices, in public, and in all transparency, and without fear of exposing the uncertainties that surround any health-related decision.

©Prescrire 1 November 2012

For more information:

 VIDEO  "Trop dépister les
cancers nuit-il à la santé ?
L'exemple des cancers du sein".
Conférence-débat du
Prix Prescrire 2012
(November 2012)
Free (In French)

Text of the presentation
by Peter Gøtzsche
(in English)
Pdf, free

Slideshow in English
Pdf, free

See also:

Screening for breast
cancer with mammography
The Cochrane Collaboration
Pdf available in 13 languages
from www.cochrane.dk

The 2012 "Prescrire Prize"
is awarded in Paris to
5 noteworthy books about
health and healthcare