DEC 28, 2015 by ADMINin Health
Last year, the Swiss Medical Board, an independent health technology assessment initiative, was asked to prepare a review of mammography screening. The team of experts on the board included a medical ethicist, a clinical epidemiologist, a pharmacologist, an oncologic surgeon, a nurse scientist, a lawyer, and a health economist.
After a year of reviewing the available evidence and its implications, they noted they became “increasingly concerned” about what they were finding. The “evidence” simply did not back up the global consensus of other experts in the field suggesting that mammograms were safe and capable of saving lives.
On the contrary, mammography appeared to be preventing only one death for every 1,000 women screened, while causing harm to many more. Their thorough review left them no choice but to recommend that no new systematic mammography screening programs be introduced, and that a time limit should be placed on existing programs.
In their report, made public in February 2014,1 the Swiss Medical Board also advised that the quality of mammography screening should be evaluated and women should be informed, in a “clear and balanced” way, about the benefits and harms of screening.
The report caused an uproar among the Swiss medical community, but it echoes growing sentiments around the globe that mammography for breast cancer screening in asymptomatic populations no longer makes sense.