The So-Called “Debate” Over Breast Cancer Screening is Not a True Debate
Originally published February 15, 2017 in MEI News on www.mammographyed.com
Republished with permission of the authors.
Above: Mammogram of invasive ductal carcinoma of the right breast in a 42 year old.
Instead, it is an unequal confrontation between the scientists who have access to the individual patient-based data and also have the expertise needed to evaluate the data, and those who have strong prejudices against the early detection of breast cancer, but who must resort to “estimates”, “approximations” and “assumptions” to support their beliefs, having no access to individual patient data and lacking the expertise needed to interpret peer reviewed, published results.
The impact of the early detection of breast cancer upon death from this disease has been studied since the 1960s. Few medical procedures have been tested so thoroughly and subjected to such intense scrutiny as the prospective early detection trials and the widespread, ongoing service screening programs. detection trials and the widespread, ongoing service screening programs.
These studies have proved without question that the early detection and treatment of breast cancer at an early stage have significantly decreased the rate of advanced cancers and, as a result, have significantly decreased the rate of death from breast cancer.
Despite all this vigorous scientific evidence the following statement in January 2017 from the Nordic Cochrane Center that “breast cancer has a biology that doesn’t lend itself to screening” can be compared to the belief that the Earth is flat.
There still appears to exist a small coterie of individuals who share the ideology that women should wait for their breast cancer become symptomatic, advanced.
When will the Nordic Cochrane Center issue a formal apology to the relatives of those deceased Danish breast cancer victims who, as a result of the Center’s long-running anti-screening campaign, did not obtain access to early detection and whose breast cancers were detected at too late a stage to be curable?
Why does vehement opposition to screening come from Denmark, which has one of the highest breast cancer death rates in Europe?
We agree with Professor Stephen W. Duffy who has summarized the situation as follows: “The term "controversy" hardly seems to apply to mammography screening. What ought to be regarded as controversial is the regular opportunity provided by scientific journals and mass media for a group of pseudo-skeptics to repeat over and over again the same flawed science and logic to question the value of screening”.
László Tabár, MD, FACR (Hon) the Professor Emeritus of Radiology Uppsala University, Faculty of Medicine, Sweden and the Medical Director Emeritus of the Department of Mammography, Falun Central Hospital, Sweden. Through his company, Mammography Education, Inc, he has also been the course director and principal lecturer at more than 300 mammography courses on 6 continents. His pioneering research has laid the foundation for early detection through modern mammographic screening. Dr. Tabár is the recipient of numerous awards including the Gold Medal from the Society of Breast Imaging, American Cancer Society's Distinguished Service Award, and the first Alexander Margulis Award for Scientific Excellence from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
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