The benefits of preemptive breast cancer screening outweigh the risks, a study said Tuesday, insisting the practice saves thousands of lives. “Breast screening extends lives,” concluded a panel of researchers in The Lancet medical journal. The team had analysed data from other trials conducted over many years in Britain, where women aged 50 to 70 are invited for a screening mammogram every three years. The data, it said, pointed to a 20 percent reduction in mortality — or one death prevented for every 180 women screened. This meant that the UK screening programmes “probably prevent about 1,300 breast cancer deaths every year,” said the report. But there is a cost. Nearly 20 percent of breast cancer diagnosed by screening would never have caused any problems, said the study. The panel, set up to advise British policymakers, estimated that among every 10,000 women invited to screening from the age of 50 in the Britain, 681 cancers would be discovered, of which 129 would be overdiagnoses, and 43 deaths prevented. The report showed that “the UK breast-screening programme extends lives and that, overall, the benefits outweigh the harms,” The Lancet wrote in an editorial. “Women need to have full and complete access…
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