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Archived Comments for: Impact of false-positive mammography on subsequent screening attendance and risk of cancer

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  1. It is wrong to encourage women to attend breast cancer screening

    Paul Pharoah, University of Cambridge

    9 November 2010

    The the conclusion made by McCann and colleagues that "women should be encouraged to continue with screening" is not supported by their data. Women should be encouraged to decide for themselves whether the marginal reduction in breast cancer mortality associated with regular mammography is worth the harms. A false positives is an associated harm and if a woman decides that that harm, based on her own experience, outweighs any benefit, she should be encouraged to make the decision not to have screening that is right for her.

    The concept that a successful screening programme depends on a high uptake rate needs to be revisited. The benefits and harms of mammography are individual based and uptake rates are of no consequence to a woman who decides to undergo mammography or not. It is inappropriate to define the success of the programme is defined in population terms.

    Competing interests