Breast cancer screening

Published 26th October, 2011

An independent review is under way

Today a review of the evidence underpinning breast screening was announced by Professor Sir Mike Richards (National Cancer Director) in a letter to the British Medical Journal. The review is being carried out by Professor Richards himself, in partnership with Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, and will analyse all relevant research including randomised control trials and observational studies relevant to breast screening. Independent advisors who have never previously published on breast screening will carry out the review to maintain distance from the current differences of opinion.

The review report is expected in 2012 and will be reported to experts from each side of the argument, including the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening.

Professor Julietta Patnick CBE, Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes said: "We welcome this review announced by Professor Richards. The NHS Breast Screening Programme has always been based on the best and latest evidence. To ensure this, the Programme has been regularly reviewed over the more than 20 years that it has been running. In that time, where new information has suggested them, changes have been made to the Programme, for example extending the screening age range and using digital mammography, and we look forward to the findings of this latest review."

For further information, please contact the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes' press office on 020 7400 4499 or e-mail .