- Patient Support Groups
- East London Awareness Events
- Research has shown that women would rather go for screening than risk missing a cancer that could be treated, despite the risk of overdiagnosis
Patient Support Groups
The next Patient Support Group will take place at the Cancerkin Centre on Tuesday 30th April, from 11am to 1pm. We will be joined by Yvette Cowles – comedienne, belly dancer and breast cancer patient. Yvette previously gave an inspirational talk (and belly dancing lesson!) to the Young Women’s Support Group and we are delighted that all our women will now have the opportunity to hear her story (and maybe join together in a little laughing and dancing!).
Another date for your diary is Tuesday 25th June – the date of June’s Patient Support Group – where our guest speaker will be Dr Anmol Malhotra, Lead Imaging Consultant at the Royal Free Hospital. Dr Malhotra will be discussing current and future developments in breast imaging. Please note that the session will start at 2.00pm and finish at 4.00pm (rather than the usual 11.00am – 1.00pm).
If you would like to book your place at either of these groups, or just want more information, please contact Reema on 020 7830 2323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
East London Awareness Events
Anisah and her Awareness Ambassadors, Marisa and Afaf, have been very busy in East London this week, giving awareness talks at both the Wally Foster Community Centre in Hackney and the Lincoln and Brudette Centre in Tower Hamlets.
At the Wally Foster Community Centre, the team spoke to their Forever Young Over 50s Group. 14 women came to hear the breast awareness message and were very animated and engaged in the discussion. Tea, biscuits and a chance for a more relaxed question session followed the talk.
The talk at the Lincoln and Brudette Centre was more informal. Anisah set up a breast awareness stall at the centre’s Parent’s Forum toddler group, and everyone was able to stop by and find out more information as their children played. 12 young women attended and all were very interested in the information, and keen to learn the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
We would like to thank Angie Melaniphy and Tarra Canum at the Wally Foster Community Centre and the Lincoln and Brudette Centre respectively, for inviting us and being such excellent hosts. If you know of a community group that would welcome a talk, or if you just want more information, please contact Anisah on 020 7830 2310 or email email@example.com.
Research has shown that women would rather go for screening than risk missing a cancer that could be treated, despite the risk of overdiagnosis
Following on from the Independent Breast Screening Review (which we reported on in November 2012), Cancer Research UK funded a study to look at the attitudes of British women towards overdiagnosis in breast screening. The research suggested that although women are surprised to learn that breast screening can lead to overdiagnosis, they would still rather go for screening than take the risk of missing a cancer that could be treated.
The study, published in BMJ Open, carried out focus groups with 40 women to explore their existing knowledge and experience of overdiagnosis. All the women were in the mammography screening age range (aged between 50 and 71) and none had a personal history of cancer or worked in occupations related to cancer or cancer screening. The study included women who had already attended screening and others who had not.
All the participants were given information on breast screening and overdiagnosis – the possibility that a proportion of slower-growing cancers detected through screening might never cause a problem in a woman’s lifetime – before being invited to discuss this information.
The researchers found that although women were initially “surprised and shocked” to discover that breast screening could result in cancers being found that might not ever have needed treatment, the majority of participants remained positive towards breast screening, noting that they preferred the risk of over-treatment and side-effects to under-treatment.
The study also found that many women had difficulty in understanding the concept of overdiagnosis, believing it was mainly an issue for treatment decisions rather than one which would affect their decision about whether or not to go for screening.
Dr Jo Waller, study author, said: “Our research is the first of its kind to look at the attitudes of British women towards overdiagnosis in breast screening.
“We found a widespread lack of awareness of overdiagnosis and a strong view that the information was important, although it rarely changed women’s beliefs about the value of screening or their decisions about attending in the future.
“Our study also highlighted the difficulty of communicating risk information about cancer screening. Population-level data and statistical modelling are difficult even for medical experts to understand, and more so for individuals to use to weigh up the personal pros and cons of screening.”
Dr Hannah Bridges, from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “Breakthrough believes women should have the full picture on breast screening to help them confidently make a decision about whether to attend, so it’s encouraging to see this study add support to this approach.
“In the future we hope to see better tests to reduce unnecessary treatment, and our researchers are working to develop ways to predict which breast cancers won’t grow and cause problems. But in the meantime, we know that screening saves lives, and evidence shows that, overall, the potential benefits of routine breast screening outweigh the risks.”
Holly Lovering 25th April 2013