by László Tabár, MD, FACR (Hon) and Peter B. Dean, MD.
Instead, it is an unequal confrontation between the scientists who have access to the individual patient-based data and also have the expertise needed to evaluate the data, and those who have strong prejudices against the early detection of breast cancer, but who must resort to “estimates”, “approximations” and “assumptions” to support their beliefs, having no access to individual patient data and lacking the expertise needed to interpret peer reviewed, published results.
- The impact of the early detection of breast cancer upon death from this disease has been studied since the 1960s. Few medical procedures have been tested so thoroughly and subjected to such intense scrutiny as the prospective early detection trials and the widespread, ongoing service screening programs.
- These studies have proved without question that the early detection and treatment of breast cancer at an early stage have significantly decreased the rate of advanced cancers and, as a result, have significantly decreased the rate of death from breast cancer.
- Despite all this vigorous scientific evidence the following statement in January 2017 from the Nordic Cochrane Center that “breast cancer has a biology that doesn’t lend itself to screening” can be compared to the belief that the Earth is flat.
- There still appears to exist a small coterie of individuals who share the ideology that women should wait for their breast cancer to become symptomatic, advanced.
- When will the Nordic Cochrane Center issue a formal apology to the relatives of those deceased Danish breast cancer victims who, as a result of the Center’s long-running anti-screening campaign, did not obtain access to early detection and whose breast cancers were detected at too late a stage to be curable?
- Why does vehement opposition to screening come from Denmark, which has one of the highest breast cancer death rates in Europe?
- We agree with Professor Stephen W. Duffy who has summarized the situation as follows: “The term “controversy” hardly seems to apply to mammography screening. What ought to be regarded as controversial is the regular opportunity provided by scientific journals and mass media for a group of pseudo-skeptics to repeat over and over again the same flawed science and logic to question the value of screening”.
Click here to read the Table of Contents for the series: Breast Cancer Screening, Mammography and “Alternative Facts”
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Cancer Knowledge Network or Multimed Inc.
Professor Emeritus of Radiology
Uppsala University, Faculty of Medicine, Sweden.
Medical Director Emeritus,
Department of Mammography, Falun Central Hospital, Sweden.
Consultant Radiologist for numerous Comprehensive Breast Centers in the United States.
Project Leader, Randomized Controlled Breast Cancer Screening Project, Kopparberg County, Sweden, 1977- present
President of Mammography Education, Inc. 1986 – present
Peter B. Dean, B.Chem.Eng. 1966, College of Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
M.D. 1971, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, D.Med.Sci. 1977, University of Turku, Faculty of Medicine, Turku, Finland
Dr. Dean began studying breast cancer screening in 1976 and has made extensive visits to Sweden in particular, where he has also worked intermittently in the performance of screening. He has performed mammography screening in Finland, also on an intermittent basis, since 1989, and continues to perform more than 5000 mammography screening examinations and 200 recall examinations annually at the Turku Breast Cancer Screening Centre, as well as mammography and breast ultrasound of women outside the screening age cohort and symptomatic women, approximately 500 annually. During his association with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the WHO, he was involved in the preparation of the two Handbooks on Breast Cancer Screening, which were published in 2002 (#7) and 2016 (#15). Dr. Dean has organized 24 mammography and screening mammography courses in association with Professor László Tabár and another 15 courses in Finland with Dr. Martti Pamilo, from 1985-2012.