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Breast cancer screening does not save lives, page 2 of 2

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The results

The results in the Oxford region, trends for breast cancer mortality based on underlying cause and on mentions were very similar. For all ages combined, mortality rates peaked for both underlying cause and mentions in 1985 and then started to decline, prior to the introduction of the NHSBSP in 1988.

Between 1979 and 2009, for mortality measured as underlying cause, rates declined by -2.1% (95% CI -2.7 to -1.4) per year for women aged 40-49 years (unscreened), and by the same percentage per year (-2.1% [-2.4 to -1.7]) for women aged 50-64 years (screened).

In England, the first estimated changes in trend occurred prior to the introduction of screening, or before screening was likely to have had an effect (between 1982 and 1989).

Thereafter, the downward trend was greatest in women aged under 40 years: -2.0% per year (-2.8 to -1.2) in 1988-2001 and -5.0% per year (-6.7 to -3.3) in 2001-2009.

There was no evidence that declines in mortality rates were consistently greater in women in age groups and cohorts that had been screened at all, or screened several times, than in other (unscreened) women, in the same time periods.

The conclusion

In the scienticic study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (J R Soc Med), the researchers concluded that (breast cancer screenings do not save lives because) "mortality statistics do not show an effect of mammographic screening on population-based breast cancer mortality in England". (1)

Sources and references

(1) "Breast cancer mortality trends in England and the assessment of the effectiveness of mammography screening: population-based study" by T.K. Mukhtar, D.R. Yeates, M.J. Goldacre, Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK. J R Soc Med. 2013 Jun;106(6):234-42. doi: 10.1177/0141076813486779,
PMID 23761583.

(2) "Ionizing radiation, breast cancer, and ataxia-telangiectasia" by M. Swift, J Natl Cancer Inst. 1994 Nov 2;86(21):1571-2,
PMID 7932817.

(3) "Ataxia telangiectasia and risk of breast cancer", by U. Werneke, Lancet. 1997 Sep 6;350(9079):739-40,
PMID 9291927.

(4) "Breast cancer and mammography" by R. Bertell, Mothering, Summer 1992, pp. 49- 52.

(5) "X-ray mammography and breast compression" by D.J. Watmough and K.M. Quan, Lancet, 1992 Jul 11;340(8811):122,
PMID 1351997.

(6) "Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR)" by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Advisory Committee, Washington, D. C., 1972.

(7) "The Breast Cancer Prevention Program, Second Edition", by S.S. Epstein, D. Steinman, and S. LeVert, Macmillan, New York, 1998.

(8) "Preventing Breast Cancer: The Story of a Major Proven Preventable Cause of this Disease" by J.W. Gofman, Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, San Francisco, 1995.

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