Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced the publication of a position statement by the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) in the journal Maturitas on the topic of breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women, with slightly more than ten percent developing the disease in Western countries.
Mammography screening is a well-established method to detect breast cancer. However there are concerns about over diagnosis with population-based screening programmes.
Some tumors grow so slowly that they will not threaten the health of women during their lifetime. The women will die from another cause and thus it is argued that these tumors should not have been treated.
Treatments can be invasive and painful, have major side-effects, especially in those with significant co-morbidities.
While this is easy from an epidemiological standpoint, it is a dilemma for the treating physician dealing with individual women. It is virtually impossible to make the diagnosis of breast cancer and to predict the future behavior of that tumor. Thus individualization is proposed so that women may be categorized into 'low to moderate' and 'high' risk based on familial risk and the first screening mammogram so that further screening can be tailored.
These and other recommendations presented in EMAS' position statement are published in the article, "EMAS Position statement: Individualized breast cancer screening versus population-based mammography screening programmes" * by Herman Depypere, Joelle Desreux, Faustino R. Pérez-López, Iuliana Ceausu, C. Tamer Erel, Irene Lambrinoudaki, Karin Schenck-Gustafsson, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Tommaso Simoncini, Florence Tremollieres and Margaret Rees