Breast cancer checks no longer promoted

The Dutch cancer research association KWF/Kankerbestrijding is to stop stimulating women to check their breasts for strange lumps every month, the Volkskrant reports on Saturday.

The paper says research shows the checks do not lead to fewer cancer-related deaths but do cause unnecessary medical intervention.
Research by two Danish epidemiologists published this week shows that regular self-checks does lead to more visits to the doctor, more mammograms, and more medical intervention but no fall in the death rate. The scientists work at the Danish arm of the British Cochrane Centre, the paper says.
Now, the KWF is to withdraw folders recommending the checks and will use October – dubbed breast cancer month – to talk about the negative sides of self-examination. ‘We are not going to recommend against it, but we are not going to promote it any more,’ the Volkskrant quoted a KWF spokesman as saying.
The paper says the Danish study is based on two major Chinese and Russian projects first analysed five years ago and a new project in the Philippines.
The PinkRibbon breast cancer lobby group said it was important that women got to know their bodies so they were aware of any changes.

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