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February 2018

Reform of the National Screening Mammography Program in France

Author Affiliations
  • 1Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney and Wiser Healthcare, Sydney, Australia
  • 2The Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet Department 7811, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(2):177-178. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.5836

In October 2016, the French Minister of Health released the report of an independent inquiry into mammography screening. The report presented 2 options: (1) end the national breast screening program, or (2) end the current program and put in place a radically reformed program.1

In 2004, after years of ad hoc screening, a national program was introduced. Every 2 years, women between the ages of 50 to 74 years are mailed invitations for mammography screening, for which they are not charged. Over time, however, doubts emerged about the program’s reach, accessibility, effectiveness, and possible harms from overdiagnosis and overtreatment. In September 2015, the Minister of Health announced what is known in France as a “civil and scientific inquiry,” and appointed an independent steering committee to oversee it.

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