The Swiss Medical Board has abolished mammography screening in the country, noting that there is no indication that the method is safe for women nor is the technique able to save lives.
According to the research team, outdated clinical methods such as mammography screenings no longer suit modern breast cancer treatment.
The research team also added that the benefits of mammography screenings did not clearly outweigh its dangers, noting one study that concluded how mammograms have absolutely NO impact on breast cancer mortality.
Last year, the Swiss Medical Board, an independent health technology assessment initiative, was asked to prepare a review of mammography screening. The team of experts on the board included a medical ethicist, a clinical epidemiologist, a pharmacologist, an oncologic surgeon, a nurse scientist, a lawyer, and a health economist.
After a year of reviewing the available evidence and its implications, they noted they became “increasingly concerned” about what they were finding. The “evidence” simply did not back up the global consensus of other experts in the field suggesting that mammograms were safe and capable of saving lives.
On the contrary, mammography appeared to be preventing only one death for every 1,000 women screened, while causing harm to many more. Their thorough review left them no choice but to recommend that no new systematic mammography screening programs be introduced, and that a time limit should be placed on existing programs.
In their report, made public in February 2014,1 the Swiss Medical Board also advised that the quality of mammography screening should be evaluated and women should be informed, in a “clear and balanced” way, about the benefits and harms of screening.
The report caused an uproar among the Swiss medical community, but it echoes growing sentiments around the globe that mammography for breast cancer screening in asymptomatic populations no longer makes sense.
Image courtesy of: SectraMedicalSystems