New research has found that breast screening is associated with an increase in mastectomy rates, despite women being told the opposite.
Screening has long been said to reduce the number of associated deaths, due to the improved timing of breast cancer diagnosis.
It has also been billed as a way of reducing the need for mastectomies but research in Norway has found that this is untrue.
A team of researchers looked at ‘how the introduction of mammography screening has affected surgical treatment for breast cancer’.
From 1993-2004 they found a 31 per cent increased risk of mastectomies in women invited to screenings, compared with the non-invited younger age group.
While mastectomy rates fell by 13 per cent in non-invited older women between 70 and 79.
Between 2005 and 2008 the number of mastectomy rates actually fell across all age groups, but it mostly affected the non-screened age groups and authors believe it is more down to ‘changes in surgical policy’.
The study, published in bmj.com concluded: “Mammography screening is associated with a noticeable increase in breast surgery rates. In contrast with what has been claimed in invitations to screening and on websites supported by numerous governmental screening institutions and cancer charities, screening does not lead to a reduction in mastectomy rates.”