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Home News and Update Year 2012 Over-diagnosis of breast cancer leads to anxiety, needless treatment

Over-diagnosis of breast cancer leads to anxiety, needless treatment

Times Of India
30 October 2012
New Delhi, India.

Over–diagnosis, leading to unnecessary treatment involving chemotherapy and radiation, has been found to be a threat to the benefits of regular screening of women for breast cancer.

The first–ever large–scale review by an independent expert panel in the UK, where women between 50 and 70 years are screened every three years for breast cancer, has found that while it prevents around 1,300 deaths from the disease every year, it also results in around 4,000 women being over diagnosed, resulting in unnecessary anxiety and treatment.

The panel concluded, in the analysis published in the medical journal The Lancet, that for around 3.07 lakh women (in the 50–52 age bracket), who are invited to begin screening every year in UK, just over 1% will have an over–diagnosed cancer in the next 20 years.

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Overall, they found that women who are invited to breast cancer screening have a relative risk of dying from breast cancer, which is 20% less than those who aren’t invited. The Indian Union health ministry, in a landmark step, recently has decided to start screening women above 30 years for breast cancer that is claiming 90,000 lives of the fairer sex annually. The ministry has written to states to start screening for breast cancer, either through special organized camps or every woman who arrives at a community health centre (CHC).

By current estimates, one in 25 Indian women will develop breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2020, one in eight urban Indian women will develop breast cancer.

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