Breast cancer screening: new evidence for high rates of overdiagnosis

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Takeaway
  • Screening programs in Denmark are not associated with detecting a lower incidence of advanced tumors and have high rates of overdiagnosis (when mammography detects small tumors that may never affect the patient's health).
Why this matters
  • An accompanying editorial exhorts the field "to realize [screening's] limitations, maximize its effectiveness, and try to improve it."
Study design
  • This cohort study analyzed screening programs offering biennial mammography for women aged 50-69 y.
  • Prevention of advanced disease was accomplished by measuring the incidence of advanced (20 mm) and nonadvanced (≤20 mm) tumors in screened and unscreened women.
  • Overdiagnosis measured 2 ways: by comparing the incidence of advanced cancer among 50-84 y old women in screening and nonscreening a...