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Screening: Simple Messages . . . Sometimes:  Comment on ”Likelihood That a Woman With Screen-Detected Breast Cancer Has Had Her “Life Saved” by That Screening“

Timothy J. Wilt, MD, MPH; Melissa R. Partin, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2046-2048. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.509.
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In their article appearing in this issue of the Archives, Welch and Frankel1 critically evaluate the common claim among cancer survivors that their “life was saved” by screening. After providing convincing evidence that this claim is markedly exaggerated, the authors express concerns that overly inflated perceptions of the benefits of mammography may lead to a self-perpetuating cycle of unwarranted demand for screening, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and a continually growing population of breast cancer survivors who advocate mammography. The demographics of survivorship suggest that their concern is legitimate.

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