UCL News


Screening for breast cancer 'may harm women'

20 October 2006

Breast cancer screening may be doing more harm than good, a new report says today.

The research found that for every 2,000 women invited to have mammograms, one would have their life prolonged but 10 would endure potentially devastating and unnecessary treatment. …

Professor Michael Baum, a pioneer of England's £75 million-a-year screening programme, called for the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence to investigate whether it should continue.

Prof Baum, professor emeritus of surgery and visiting professor of medical humanities at UCL, told 'The Daily Telegraph': "Up until now, my position has been that women should make an informed choice based on the facts of benefits to one women in 1,000 over 10 years on the one hand and the risks of over-diagnosis and false positives on the other. This latest evidence shifts the balance even further towards harm and away from benefits.

"If this report stands up, the NHS screening programme should be referred to the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (Nice) to decide whether it should be closed down."

Nic Fleming, 'The Daily Telegraph'