Critic of breast screening publishes book

Dr. Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen has published a book on the topic of screening mammography. Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy posits that "the most effective way to decrease women's risk of becoming a breast cancer patient is to avoid attending screening," according to its U.K. publisher, Radcliffe Publishing.

"Mammography screening is one of the greatest controversies in healthcare, and the extent to which some scientists have sacrificed sound scientific principles in order to arrive at politically acceptable results in their research is extraordinary," Gøtzsche wrote in the book's introduction. "In contrast, neutral observers increasingly find that the benefit has been much oversold and that the harms are much greater than previously believed."

The book includes two forewords, one by Dr. Iona Heath, president of the U.K.'s Royal College of General Practitioners, and the other by Frances Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition in Washington, DC.

"If Peter Gøtzsche did not exist, there would be a need to invent him," Heath wrote in her foreword. "It may still take time for the limitations and harms of screening to be properly acknowledged and for women to be enabled to make adequately informed decisions. When this happens, it will be almost entirely due to the intellectual rigour and determination of Peter Gøtzsche."

Chapter titles include "Why screening leads to misleading survival statistics"; "Stonewalling the Cochrane report on screening"; "Peter Dean is wrong again"; "Tabár's 'beyond reason' studies"; and "Ad hominem attacks: a measure of desperation?"

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