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Podcast: Risk Assessment - Breast Cancer, Prediction and Screening

2 June 2014
Appeared in BioNews 756

Is the benefit attributed to widespread breast cancer screening programmes supported by the evidence? What to make of the phenomenon of overdiagnosis, where patients are treated for cancers identified during screening that would not have been problematic in their lifetime?

For people assessed as being at high risk of developing breast cancer, how to decide whether to have preventative treatment or surgery? Finally, are IVF techniques to stop people passing on cancer risk genes to their children justified?

This podcast features interviews on those questions with the four people - two epidemiologists, a head of a cancer charity and an IVF expert - who spoke at the Progress Educational Trust (PET)'s event 'Risk Assessment: Breast Cancer, Prediction and Screening', part of the Wellcome Trust-supported project 'Breast Cancer: Chances, Choices and Genetics'.

Listen to the podcast using the player below, or alternatively download it by clicking here (.mp3 16.9 MB).

00:00 James Brooks: Introduction
01:45 Wendy Watson: Support for people with a strong family history of breast cancer
05:40 Paul Serhal: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis for BRCA mutations
09:50 Professor Stephen Duffy: Evidence for breast cancer screening programmes
15:00 Professor Klim McPherson: The problems of overdiagnosis and overselling screening success
11 August 2014 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
A new study suggests that mutations in a gene called PALB2 are just behind BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations as a leading genetic risk factor for breast cancer...
28 July 2014 - by James Brooks 
Will the media be forever obsessed with cancer risk? How can we separate fact from fiction in the miles of accumulated column inches amassed by cancer stories every year?...
7 July 2014 - by Dr Nicola Davis 
The Progress Educational Trust's enlightening series of events on breast cancer came to a close on Thursday with 'Breast cancer risk: Facts, fiction and the future'....
30 June 2014 - by James Brooks 
Does the pharmaceutical and biotech industry's profit motive actually pervert rather than inspire innovation and the hunt for new therapies? Is the patent system well suited to a new life sciences landscape including stem cell and gene therapies?...
9 June 2014 - by Simon Hazelwood-Smith 
The backdrop to the third event in the Progress Educational Trust's 'Breast Cancer: Chances, Choices and Genetics' series was the Myriad Genetics gene patenting legal saga, which came to a conclusion last year with Myriad being denied a patent on the isolated forms of the BRCA genes...
28 May 2014 - by Dr Ann Robinson 
As a GP in North London, I see the ravaging effects of breast cancer in young women. Each patient sticks in my mind as their illness traumatises the whole family...
12 May 2014 - by Dr James Heather 
Doctors, survivors and supporters again converged in a basement lecture theatre in Bloomsbury for the second event in PET's 'Breast Cancer' series. On the cards this night: prediction and screening...
28 April 2014 - by James Brooks 
Did Angelina Jolie's famous editorial in the New York Times a year ago inspire an overemphasis on genetic risk in breast cancer? Or has it saved lives by bringing the issue out into the open?...
7 April 2014 - by Baroness Delyth Morgan 
The news of Angelina Jolie's mastectomy last year brought breast cancer genetics, risk and prevention into the international spotlight. Her decision was only possible due to the efforts of researchers, over the past twenty years and more, to identify the inherited genetic mutations...
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