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Invited Commentary
Dec 12 2011

Screening: Simple Messages . . . Sometimes: Comment on ”Likelihood That a Woman With Screen-Detected Breast Cancer Has Had Her “Life Saved” by That Screening“

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Drs Wilt and Partin); Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Drs Wilt and Partin); and Section of General Medicine, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis (Dr Wilt).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2046-2048. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.509

In their article appearing in this issue of the Archives, Welch and Frankel1 critically evaluate the common claim among cancer survivors that their “life was saved” by screening. After providing convincing evidence that this claim is markedly exaggerated, the authors express concerns that overly inflated perceptions of the benefits of mammography may lead to a self-perpetuating cycle of unwarranted demand for screening, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and a continually growing population of breast cancer survivors who advocate mammography. The demographics of survivorship suggest that their concern is legitimate.