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Study questions breast cancer screening impact

A new study has raised questions as to whether a fall in the number of women dying from breast cancer was caused by the introduction of widespread screening programmes.

The Press Association reports that an investigation recently published in the British Medical Journal indicated that three separate European countries witnessed a similar decline in mortality rates despite introducing testing several years apart.

Breast cancer deaths were cut by 29 per cent in Northern Ireland between 1989 and 2006, while the Republic of Ireland saw a drop of 26 per cent. Fatalities were also down by 25 per cent in the Netherlands and Flanders.

"The contrast between the time differences in implementation of mammography screening and the similarity in reductions in mortality ... suggest that screening did not play a direct part," the researchers stated.

Earlier this week, Bowel & Cancer Research head of development Deborah Gilbert insisted that closely monitoring personal dietary habits can reduce the likelihood of developing bowel cancer.

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