Absolute numbers of lives saved and overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening

Following controversial debates in recent months over the risks and harms of screening for breast cancer, this research project - part funded by Cancer Research UK - set out to uncover how effective the programme is at saving lives.

Some reports had estimated that for every life saved, six women were overdiagnosed. Overdiagnosis describes cancers picked up and treated as a result of screening which would not have been diagnosed in a woman's lifetime had screening not taken place.

The researchers say these latest figures show that it is worth going for screening.

Journal of Medical Screening article (PDF 206Kb)

Back to key research in breast screening.