86K Dutch women call for less painful breast cancer screening

2016 12 06 12 25 03 674 Breast Screening Mammo 400

More than 86,000 Dutch women have signed a petition that calls for a less painful breast cancer screening method than mammography, according to a report from RTL News.

The breast cancer screening program in the Netherlands invites women between the ages of 50 and 75 to undergo biennial mammography; each year, 1.2 million women are invited and about 800,000 actually show up for the exam, RTL News reported. Breast cancer screening prevents between 850 to 10,750 women from dying from the disease each year, the outlet said.

But some women don't undergo mammography because they experience it as painful.

Murial van der Draaij had her first mammogram in 2021 and was surprised by how unpleasant it was, according to the report. She started a petition for a less painful screening tool as a joke but got more than 86,000 signatures, which she then presented to the Dutch parliament as a "citizens' initiative."

Although there are other imaging options for breast cancer screening, such as ultrasound, most are not as effective as mammography, despite the modality's limitations, RTL News said in its report.

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