Breast cancer screening programs are still object of harsh debate. In 2012, the Independent UK Panel reviewed the benefits and harms of mammography screening based on randomized trials and the EUROSCREEN Working Group reviewed European observational outcome studies. The conclusion was that screening programs should continue, while acknowledging that harms, such as the occurrence of false-positive results and overdiagnosis, can have a negative impact on a woman's life. Information on the balance sheet of the benefits and harms of breast cancer screening should help women and their physicians to make an informed choice. The future challenge for breast screening programs is to assess the feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness and impact of risk-based screening in order to maximize benefit-to-harm ratios.
Keywords: breast cancer; breast cancer mortality; outcome research; overdiagnosis; population-based screening; screening benefits; screening harms; screening mammography.