Breast cancer isconsidered the most common causes of cancer death in women. In 2012, it isestimated that 1.
7 million women were diagnosed with cancer in Europe, amongwhich 464,000 new cases of breast cancer and 131,000 deaths from it (Ferlay etal., 2013). The reduction in cancer death can be achieved by early detection ofbreast lesions through screening programs ( Perry et al., 2008). Mammography is the most widely used method todetect breast cancer in asymptomatic women. Generally, there are two approachesof cancer screening, detection of cancerin early stages where the aim is to prevents cancer from spreading to otherorgans, and prevention of the disease by finding and removing premalignantbiomarkers of cancer ( Loberg et al., 2015). Mammography screening is widelyavailable in many countries.
In the UK, The screening program invites womenaged 50-70 years for mammography every three years. In the US and Canada,biannually or triennially mammography screening starting from age 50 isrecommended ( Baum, 2014). Recently, there has been a debate over the benefitsand harms of the program and that not only unique in the UK. In 2002, theInternational Agency for Research on Cancer at the World health Organisation re-examined the proof of breast screening and put forward recommendations onmore investigation needed and also to apply the screening program (IARC, 2002).
The US Preventive Services Taskforce in2009 reviewed the efficacy of different modalities of breast cancer screening.They recommend that women aged 50-70 to be screened biennial rather than onceand those under the age of 50 not to be screened (Woolf, 2010). The Canadian TaskforceOn Preventive Healthcare concluded that thereduction in cancer death is small for women aged 40-70 years at average riskof breast cancer and overdiagnosis is greater than benefit for younger women(Canadian Taskforce On PreventiveHealthcare, 2011).
In these days, the debate focused on how many lives aresaved attributed to screening, the riskof overdiagnosed women, and the way that the benefits and harms arecommunicated to women who undergo screening. Therefore, the principle of thispaper is to the arguments for and against breast cancer screening program.