Do the benefits of screening mammography outweigh the harms of overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment?

David M Roder and Ian N Olver
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11466
Published online: 16 January 2012

Yes. Public health adviser David Roder and Cancer Council Australia CEO Ian Olver believe the reduction in breast cancer mortality in Australia reflects both treatment and screening effects

All screening programs should be assessed for their benefits and risks, including the extent of overdiagnosis. Recently, Burton and colleagues concluded that almost 60% of the Australian decline in breast cancer mortality since 1991 could not be due to BreastScreen Australia (the free national mammographic program), attributing most of the decline to adjuvant hormonal and chemotherapy.1

  • David M Roder1
  • Ian N Olver2

  • 1 Cancer Australia, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Cancer Council Australia, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

David Roder is employed by Cancer Australia and is part of a National Breast Cancer Foundation grant application to study overdiagnosis.


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