Breast cancer screening: review of benefits and harms, and recommendations for developing and low-income countries
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- Al-Foheidi, M., Al-Mansour, M.M. & Ibrahim, E.M. Med Oncol (2013) 30: 471. doi:10.1007/s12032-013-0471-5
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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. The disease remains a public health concern as recent evidence indicates that the breast cancer burden has increased mainly in developing and low-income countries (DLICs). Despite the demonstrated benefits, the debate about the real benefits and harms of breast cancer screening is ongoing. Many experts believe that the benefits of screening, in terms of reduced breast cancer mortality, outweigh the harms, whereas others think the opposite. In this review, we assess the clinical utility of available screening modalities, present evidence, overdiagnosis, cost-effectiveness, and other pertinent issues. We also examine relevant data from DLICs to underscore the barriers and challenges that impede implementation of screening strategies in those populations. We also provide recommendations concerning rational preventive strategies for breast cancer control for women in DLICs.