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Breast screening does save lives

By SPP Reporter

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Sir – The independent review into the evidence for breast screening has been published.

The review has shown that breast screening can save lives – around 1300 a year in the UK, around 130 in Scotland.

We must not ignore the down sides – the data suggests that one in five of those diagnosed through screening are diagnosed and treated for a cancer that is at such an early stage it may not have caused them harm in their lifetimes.

The problem is, we don’t know which cancers will grow and become harmful, so all women in this situation will be offered treatment.

It is vital that women read all the screening information provided on the leaflet they receive – this arms them with the facts and enables them to be confident in their decision about whether to attend screening or not.

At Breakthrough Breast Cancer we work with the government to get the leaflet as clear as possible whilst updating our own information to enable informed choice at all times.

Let’s not forget the review also reveals four in five women who have a cancer diagnosed through screening are treated for a cancer that will cause them harm if left untreated, and may not have been found without screening.

Audrey Birt,

Director for Scotland,

Breakthrough Breast Cancer,

38 Thistle Street,


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