Mia Rosenblatt, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Campaign, said:

“It is vital that research into breast cancer screening continues in order that we can better understand its value, impacts and costs. Whilst the results from this study are interesting, it is important that we do not rush to judgement about the effectiveness of screening for women over 70, particularly as a clinical trial to extend the NHS Breast Screening Programme from the age of 70 to 73 is currently underway.


“This NHS trial will help to provide answers on how mass breast screening affects breast cancer mortality rates in women up to the age of 80. The trial published in the BMJ today unfortunately cannot provide these answers as it was designed to investigate the stage at which cancers are diagnosed through screening, rather than the relationship between screening and mortality in older women.


“While the trial in the Netherlands did show that significantly more cancers, both at an early and late stage, were found by screening women aged 70-75, we await the results of the NHS Breast Screening trial in order to help inform breast screening policy in England.”

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