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Breast screening for Germany's 50-69s: worth it?:

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

Blanket screening for breast cancer in the 50-69 age group lies ahead in Germany, but what is the actual value of such an initiative, with its associated high monetary costs? A report in Aerztezeitung online claims that, while breast screening centres are keen to stress the health advantages of the move, in reality, the reduction in mortality from breast cancer after screening is only 25-30%. This has to be weighed against the risk of false diagnoses. AZ adds that, without screening, four out of 1,000 women will die from breast cancer within ten years; screening will cut the rate by one, ie three per 1,000. In the same group of 1,000 women, some 100 will be handed false diagnoses. As to costs, 2.06 million German women aged 50-69 will be eligible for screening every year, costing E170m. The diagnostic costs alone will be E800,000 ($1.2bn).

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