Methods of influencing the public to attend screenings

Categories of systematic influences applied to increase cancer screening participation: a literature review and analysis

Joseph Rahbek , Christian P. Jauernik, Thomas Ploug, John Brodersen
(more about the authors ==> see at the bottom of the article)

https://publichealth.ku.dk/staff/?pure=en%2Fpublications%2Fcategories-of-systematic-influences-applied-to-increase-cancer-screening-participation(2cfeab86-5b7c-47db-be7b-bdf04436a71f).html

https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article-abstract/31/1/200/5902144?redirectedFrom=fulltext

April 20, 2021; 

Summary Dr C.Bour, with the help of our referent patient Sophie

Under this title the authors aim to analyze how health authorities can subtly influence citizens to participate in cancer screening programs.
The researchers identified and analyzed several "categories of influence", i.e., several methods of pushing the public to undergo screenings.
They point out that when influences become too severe, this is at the expense of citizens' ability to make a personal choice.

Methods of study

Two methods were chosen:

  • A systematic literature search was performed on three databases listing scientific articles and publications which are: PubMed, Embase and PsycINFO. In addition, a review of the so-called "grey" literature was carried out, i.e. information brochures and website content from regulatory authorities and patient organizations targeting general public.
  • Relevant experts were contacted via international email lists and asked to provide examples of systematic influences in cancer screening. These experts are members of independent groups and have expertise in cancer and the collateral damage of screening.

These include the following groups: EuroPrev (18 members),[1] Nordic Risk Group (24 members),[2] Preventing Overdiagnosis (27 members),[3] a Google group (breast-cancer-screening google group) with a special interest in screening mammography (42 members), and Wiser Healthcare (21 members).

Results

From the 19 articles included and the expert survey, six main categories of systematic influence were identified: (a) misleading presentation of statistics, (b) misrepresentation of harms versus benefits, (c) opt-out, (which consists in considering as passive consent the fact that a solicited patient does not object to the invitation to screen), (d) recommendation of participating, (e) fear appeals, (f) influence on general practitioners and other healthcare professionals. 

The authors provide examples for each category

a) Misleading presentation of statistics

This involves presenting mortality reduction data in an embellished way by using percentages of relative reduction in the risk of dying, instead of raw figures.

Editor’s note : For example, in the case of breast cancer screening, a mortality reduction of 20% is presented. This is a reduction in the risk of dying when comparing two groups, i.e. one group against another.
With this kind of presentation, one might think that 20 out of 100 people screened would die of cancer. This is not the case, explanation:
If out of 1000 screened women 4 die of breast cancer, and out of a group of unscreened women 5 die of breast cancer, the passage from 5 to 4 constitutes mathematically a reduction of 20% of mortality, but in absolute figures it only makes a difference of one woman... This is why it is important to always require a presentation in real data, and not in percentages, which embellishes the situation.

Often physicians and patients have a limited understanding of the statistics, and exposing risk reductions in relative numbers is likely to increase participation especially because citizens overrate the benefits of screening.[5]

b) Misrepresentation of harm compared to benefits:

This method of influence can be applied by presenting the benefits in relative figures, as we have just seen, and the harms in absolute figures. Alternatively, certain types of harms can be minimized and even omitted altogether.

The authors cite as an example a British information brochure on mammography screening in which the reduction in breast cancer mortality was emphasized, but a major harm such as overtreatment was omitted [6]. In addition, the same British brochure showed the risk of overdiagnosis after one round of screening, and the cumulative reduction in mortality after five rounds of screening, thus minimizing the harm while exaggerating the benefit.

Failure to inform correctly also addresses the omission of harms such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment.[6]

Editor's note: We will detail in a dedicated paragraph the very same shortcomings in the information given to women in France, which were denounced in this study, and which were also mentioned during the public consultation on screening in 2016 in France. We will come back to this.

c) Opt-out systems

This consists of assigning citizens a pre-booked appointment at the point of the invitation. If the person does not wish to participate, he/she must actively opt out. The non-refusal of the patient is considered de facto as acceptance to participate.

Editor's note: In France, we do not have this system of prebooked appointments, but the system of reminders is widely used if a patient does not show up for a screening mammography appointment (reminders by mail and sometimes SMS).

d) Recommendations of participation

A recommendation to participate in a health procedure does not provide evidence about the effectiveness or appropriateness or benefit of a screening program. Instead, it promotes one option (to participate) as the smartest or best, based on the authority of the source from which the injunction emanates. This is the argument from authority.[7]

Celebrity staging is also widely used in different countries to increase participation. Humorous examples are given in the article by Rahbek et al. In an Icelandic government video, after examining a citizen's rectum, the doctor slaps him on the bottom and exclaims, "More men should follow your example and take care of their own ass" - a recommendation, unaccompanied by factual data.

e) Fear appeals

This is a well-tried lever. By relying on the uncertainty of life and emphasizing the human fear of dying, it is easy to convince.

All of the above levers are illustrated in an excellent and pictorial way in the Cortecs media article: https://cortecs.org/2016/05/ (Editor's note)

f) Influence on general practitioners and other healthcare professionals

The most obvious one is the system of reward by remuneration when the professional encourages a patient to participate, called P4P (Pay for performance) or ROSP (Remuneration on public health objectives) in France.

g) Others

It is not used in France but is in force in Uruguay, and it was almost introduced in Germany: it is the legislative influence.

In Germany, in 2007, a law proposal suggested that if an individual did not participate in a cancer screening program and was subsequently diagnosed with the type of cancer for which he or she had been called for screening, then that individual would have to pay double the health tax - a law proposal that was finally rejected.

In total

The authors' analysis shows that there is a common point between the six main categories of influence detailed in the article: they work through psychological biases and and personal costs (i.e. time consumption or financial) on non-participation.

The article here focuses essentially on "nudging" populations, a term that refers to anything that predictably changes people's behavior by pushing them into what you want them to do, without any scruples, and even to the point of financial incentives.

Insofar as patient autonomy and informed choice are important, the authors say, the use of such influences is ethically questionable in cancer screening programs where the benefit/harm ratio is complex and scientifically contested.

Therefore, they argue, there is a need to find better ways to facilitate participation by willing citizens, without pushing reluctant citizens to participate. Instead of evaluating cancer screening programs on the basis of participation rates, programs should be evaluated on informed decision rates, regardless of participation or non-participation.

Key points

• This study finds six categories of systematic influences applied to increase participation in national cancer screening programmes.

• The categories of influences work through psychological biases and personal costs of non-participation and might not be compatible with the citizens’ informed choice.

• Research on how to properly implement informed decision models as not to complicate participation for otherwise willing citizens are needed.

Methods of pressure and manipulation by the sanitary structures in France, in particular for breast cancer screening by mammography

We will take up the six methods of influence described and analyse their application in France, specifically concerning breast cancer screening which is our subject of concern. The shortcomings of information in France have been very well identified and described in the report of the citizen and scientific consultation on breast cancer screening (2015/2016) which, let us remember, called for a halt to this screening[8] (observations of multiple failures in the information given to women).

It is important to underline the incredible cynicism of the National Cancer Institute which uses this same publication to improve the participation rate in screening!

Indeed, on the Institute's website, in the section intended for doctors (thematic access "health professionals") this publication is quoted as a basis for improving the participation rate, ignoring the denunciation of the unethical character of the influence techniques by the authors of the study

https://www.e-cancer.fr/Professionnels-de-sante/Veille-bibliographique/Nota-Bene-Cancer/Nota-Bene-Cancer-460/Categories-of-systematic-influences-applied-to-increase-cancer-screening-participation-a-literature-review-and-analysis

"Conducted on the basis of a systematic review of the literature (19 articles) and with the help of experts, this study identifies different types of influence allowing to improve the participation rate in screening programs." 

The critical analysis of the Rahbek et al. study is not mentioned at all...

Let's look at the information given to women according to the 6 categories of influence analyzed in the article.

a) Misleading presentation of statistics

Rahbek et al. cite the INCa booklet[9] in Table 5 of the supplements section of their study (TABLE 5. GREY LITERATURE SEARCH RESULTS) as an example of misleading presentation of statistical data, and they denounce the French booklet's presentation of mortality in terms of relative risks. In fact, in the French booklet, the reduction in the risk of dying from breast cancer (this so-called gain in mortality) is announced by INCa to be between 15 and 20%. We have also analysed this booklet and made the same observations about the misleading and embellishing information concerning the supposed gain in mortality from breast cancer screening [10].

When we visit the INCa website[11], which is supposed to guarantee proper information to the population, we immediately come across the same flaw denounced by the publication, here: https://cancersdusein.e-cancer.fr/infos/pourquoi-les-autorites-de-sante-recommandent-de-realiser-un-depistage/ : "International studies estimate that these programs can prevent between 15% and 21% of deaths from breast cancer."

The same presentation can be found again and always on the French Health Insurance website, in spite of the citizens' requests to avoid this pitfall, superbly ignored and scorned by these authorities, which are nevertheless heavily pinned for their failings, as can be seen on the website,

Here: https://www.ameli.fr/assure/sante/themes/cancer-sein/depistage-gratuit-50-74-ans

b) Misrepresentation of harms versus benefits

On the French Assurance Maladie website, it is impossible for a patient to obtain information on overdiagnosis or overtreatment. In the search box there are no hits.

But in the tab "organized breast cancer screening" you will find a video made by the INCa and a reference to the page of the Institute.

The benefits, on the official site of the INCa, are largely developed, and the harms are called here modestly the "limits of screening". In the small paragraph 'DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF SLOW PROGRESSIVE CANCER', overtreatment, a direct consequence of overdiagnosis for women, is never mentioned.

Overdiagnosis is indicated at a percentage of 10 to 20%, figures that are completely obsolete and have been revised upwards for a long time[12].

Even lower numbers appear on the page for professionals: "Based on published studies, overdiagnosis could be in the range of 1-10% or even 20%. " 

https://www.e-cancer.fr/Professionnels-de-sante/Depistage-et-detection-precoce/Depistage-du-cancer-du-sein/Les-reponses-a-vos-questions The same observation can be made on the site dedicated to breast cancer screening (Prevention and screening of breast cancer) where you will find exactly the same wording[13].

We had also carried out ourselves a quantitative evaluation of the informative value of this site where the inciting for screening is obvious[14].

The French brochures are again cited in the "supplements" of the Rahbek et al study, item 'MISREPRESENTATION OF HARMS VS BENEFITS'; the authors denounce the omission of overdiagnosis in the official brochures. To be more accurate, overdiagnosis is mentioned in the booklet but very much minimized, and the description of overtreatment, a corollary of overdiagnosis, is completely missing.

Still in the same section, Rahbek et al. denounce the omission by the official French brochures of the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation. We had also noted this point in the analysis of the booklet (reference 11). But in fact this point is really mentioned on page 12 of the INCa booklet, which states that: "the risk of death from radiation-induced cancer is of the order of 1 to 10 per 100,000 women who have had a mammogram every 2 years for 10 years."

This is true, but it should be pointed out that this risk increases with the repetition of examinations and incidences. Let us recall that 3 mSv are received on average with a mammography (between 2 and 3 images per breast depending on the needs), which corresponds to already 9 months of annual irradiation (which is 4.5 mSv per year for a French person). 

c) Opt-out system

As mentioned above, this system is not used in France. However, if a woman does not go for screening, she will be reminded several times, sometimes even by text message, giving women the impression that screening is mandatory. However, this is not the case, screening is not mandatory  and we have provided a pre-filled form on the home page that women who do not wish to undergo mammography screening can send to their departmental screening structure. 15]

At the end of the INCa booklet, it is clearly stated "You cannot or do not wish to be screened. Fill in the questionnaire in the invitation letter and return it to the address indicated. Please be aware that you can change your mind at any time. "

d) Recommendations for participation

The argument of authority is widely conveyed by opinion leaders, a radiologist speaks on the home page of the "breast cancer prevention and screening" website.

In the midst of the Covid pandemic, we saw a renowned oncologist calling on women to continue screening, scaring them and arguing loudly that breast cancer would kill more than the pandemic. When we read that the 100,000 mark was passed in one year (breast cancer causes 12,000 deaths/year), we realize how sordid these counts seem and especially how some media doctors do not hesitate to exaggerate in order to convey inciting and frightening messages.[16]

The stars in France are not to be forgotten, as shown by the TV show " Naked Stars " where celebrities unveil themselves for " the good cause " with messages that are intellectually indigent and insufficient in terms of scientific information.[17]

In 2011, Marie-Claire published multiple photos of French stars who let themselves be photographed naked to "raise awareness" of breast cancer screening, allowing this media a considerable and profitable increase in its sales.[18]

e) Fear appeals.

The organization Pink Ribbon, formerly 'Cancer-du-Sein-Parlons-en' , broadcast a spot in 2015 based on messages related to death (breast cancer, the most common, the most deadly).[19]

The INCa is not lagging behind and in 2018 was published this poster: "This cancer is at the same time the most frequent and the most deadliest in women. Yet if it is detected early, the treatments are generally less burdensome and the chances of recovery greater."

https://www.e-cancer.fr/Expertises-et-publications/Catalogue-des-publications/Depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-2018-Affiche-sans-zone-de-repiquage

Cancer is constantly associated with a verdict of death, so much so that the medical, societal and media messages are based on a military and bellicose jargon: cancer is an enemy that will inexorably invade the body. The patient either wins or succumbs, despite the "therapeutic arsenal" or the "fight" led by the patient. As soon as a cancer is diagnosed at the mammogram, the feverishness that the doctor shows in making appointments for his patient for other examinations and surgery reinforces the idea of imminent death for the patient. Each newly diagnosed woman feels banished from the world of "normality" and threatened with expulsion from the social system (work, family, insurance, bank, etc.). The stress that some women feel after the announcement is such that they lose all control over their lives, professionally, emotionally and in their families. And this is very well perceived by the other women in the family, friends or professional environment.

f) Influence on general practitioners and other health professionals

In France this is the ROSP system (remuneration on public health objectives)[20].

See here:

https://www.ameli.fr/seine-saint-denis/medecin/exercice-liberal/remuneration/remuneration-objectifs/medecin-traitant-adulte

Note that on the site dedicated to professionals [21], the risk of "unnecessary mutilation of women screened by excess" is well recognized, the controversy and the consultation of 2016 are mentioned, nevertheless the premium is maintained (according to web page of December 29, 2020).

But even worse is the financial incentive on the women themselves. Indeed, in 2020 the INCa organized a masquerade of consultation[22] where one item caught our attention, as it proposed to pay women this time in order to bring them to screening.

A citizen has expressed her concern in an article published in the JIM, denouncing the lack of ethical consideration in this proposal for "paid participation"[23].

The manipulation of women is a real scientific topic

To read here: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2020/12/17/manipulation-of-information/

CONCLUSION

Rahbek et al have perfectly identified the shortcomings of the information provided to the public on screening in general, information that remains globally often inciting, which goes against the ethical objectives that we owe to the patient.

The shortcomings and failings of the official French brochures were noted, including those of the INCa, an institute that is supposed to protect the patient.

The booklet of the INCa, already quite imperfect, is sent to women eligible for screening only once at the time of their first convocation when they are 50 years old. In 2017, when the booklet was published, women aged 50 who were first called for screening received it, but women over 50 at that time will never receive it.

And what can be said about the INCa's multi-language brochure, which is even more succinct?

From our point of view, we can only be dismayed and distressed to see to what extent the demands of French citizens, who had, during the 2016 consultation, identified the same problems, have remained unheard and scorned by the French authorities.

ANNEX: 

You will find here a table annexed with the original publication, showing the research of the so-called 'grey' literature (brochures and information websites). French brochures are named in several items of misleading communication of data (yellow highlighting).

Table here:

https://cancer-rose.fr/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/tableau.pdf

We can also see the strong preferential communication on mammography screening (blue highlighting).

The authors

Joseph Rahbek

Master student Department of Public Health, Section of General Practice
Research Unit for General Practice, Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark

Christian P. Jauernik

The Research Unit for General Practice, Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark

Thomas Ploug

Thomas Ploug is Professor of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Ethics at the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. He holds a Master of Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen and a PhD in ICT ethics from the University of Southern Denmark. His research interests and projects cover topics in different areas of applied ethics, such as ICT ethics, medical ethics and bioethics. He is currently involved in projects on online and offline consent behavior in the health context, and nudging in the health sector. He is head of the research group on communication and information studies, director of the Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, member of the Danish Council of Ethics and the clinical ethics committee of Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.

John Brodersen, Professor, University of Copenhagen

https://publichealth.ku.dk/staff/?pure=en%2Fpersons%2Fjohn-brodersen(0f06ffbd-c5c4-4560-aac7-f0bfdf8e86e7).html

John Brodersen, the senior author of this article, is a general practitioner with more than ten years of experience in clinical practice. Dr. Brodersen holds a PhD in public health and psychometrics and works as an associate research professor in medical screening at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Public Health, Research Unit and Section of General Practice.

His work was used in the development of the 2020 WHO Screening Guide, which builds on the background papers written by John Brodersen for the 2019 WHO European Technical Consultation on Screening.

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/330852/9789289054799-fre.pdf

He is also a co-author of the 2012 Cochrane booklet on mammographic screening.https://www.cochrane.dk/sites/cochrane.dk/files/public/uploads/images/mammography/mammografi-fr.pdf

He is a member of the Board and Scientific Committee of the non-profit organization "Preventing Overdiagnosis "https://www.preventingoverdiagnosis.net/?page_id=6

His research focuses on the development and validation of questionnaires to measure the psychosocial consequences of false positive screening results. Dr. Brodersen has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.

In the area of self-diagnosis and screening, Dr. Brodersen specializes in the areas of sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, overdiagnosis, informed consent, and psychosocial consequences for healthy individuals when tested.

He also teaches nationally and internationally on evidence-based medicine.

PhD thesis:Brodersen, J 2006 , Measuring the psychosocial consequences of false positive screening results - breast cancer as an example, PhD thesis, Månedsskrift for Praktisk Lægegerning, Department of General Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Copenhagen

REFERENCES

[1] European Network for Prevention and Health Promotion in Family Medicine and General Practice. Available at: http://europrev.woncaeurope.org/

[2] Nordic Risk Group. Available at: http://nordicriskgroup.net/

[3] Preventing Overdiagnosis. Available at: http://www.preventingoverdiagnosis.net/

[4] Wiser Healthcare. Available at: http://wiserhealthcare.org.au/

[5] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2020/12/18/perception-and-reality-2/

[6] Gotzsche PC, Hartling OJ, Nielsen M, et al. Breast screening: the facts–or maybe not. BMJ 2009;338:b86.

[7] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/04/02/screening-propaganda/ (part OPINION LEADERS AND MEDIA)

[8] http://www.concertation-depistage.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/depistage-cancer-sein-rapport-concertation-sept-2016.pdf

  • page 125, le constat d'une information inadaptée.
  • page 57 : les incitations financières
  • pages 85, 92, 93, 115 : la communication "lacunaire" de l'INCa
  • pages 95, 96 jusqu'à 100 : la communication 'simpliste' de l'Assurance Maladie
  • page 133 : les deux scénarios proposés par le comité de pilotage pour l'arrêt du dépistage mammographique.

[9] https://cancersdusein.e-cancer.fr/infos/un-livret-sur-le-depistage-pour-sinformer-et-decider/ ou https://www.e-cancer.fr/Expertises-et-publications/Catalogue-des-publications/Livret-d-information-sur-le-depistage-organise-du-cancer-du-sein

[10] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/01/01/critical-analysis-of-the-new-inca-information-booklet/

[11] https://cancersdusein.e-cancer.fr/

[12] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2020/12/17/mammography-screening-a-major-issue-in-medicine/

[13] https://cancersdusein.e-cancer.fr/infos/les-benefices-et-les-limites-du-depistage/

[14] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/accueil-english/

[15] https://cancer-rose.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Droit-dopposition_Mammos.pdf

[16] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/04/02/screening-propaganda/

[17] https://cancer-rose.fr/2020/02/06/ah-mais-quelle-aubaine-ce-cancer/

[18] https://cortecs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CorteX_mammo_sophie_davant.png

[19] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7widbIFUb8

[20] https://cancer-rose.fr/2020/04/20/la-nouvelle-rosp-quel-changement-pour-le-medecin-concernant-le-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein/

[21] https://www.ameli.fr/seine-saint-denis/medecin/exercice-liberal/remuneration/remuneration-objectifs/medecin-traitant-adulte

[22] https://cancer-rose.fr/2020/12/17/la-concertation-citoyenne-de-linca-sur-le-futur-plan-cancer-une-mascarade/

[23] https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/02/14/getting-paid-to-be-screened/

[24] https://www.e-cancer.fr/Expertises-et-publications/Catalogue-des-publications/Depliant-d-information-en-langues-etrangeres-sur-le-depistage-organise-du-cancer-du-sein

 

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Screening propaganda

Marc Gourmelon, MD, November, 1st, 2020

"1 lie repeated 1000 times becomes the truth”.

This is one of the well-known principles of propaganda. (1)

It has been well studied in political field and more particularly in dictatorships. The sentence in the title is historically attributed to Joseph Goebbels, who headed the Ministry of People' s Education and Propaganda under the Nazi regime.

But propaganda is not a prerogative of totalitarian regimes, whether of the right or the left. As Noam Chomsky writes, "Propaganda is for democracies what violence is for dictatorships. "Propaganda is a concept designating a set of persuasion techniques, implemented to propagate with all available means, an idea, an opinion, an ideology or a doctrine and to stimulate the adoption of behaviors within a target public. These techniques are exercised on a population in order to influence it, even to indoctrinate it. " (2)

Clearly, the insistence on promoting breast cancer screening by mammography is propaganda. Indeed, there is an intention to "propagate a doctrine" according to which screening saves lives and this is in total contradiction with what independent scientific studies tell us.

The goal: "adoption of behaviors within a target audience", in this case, to perform a screening mammogram within the women target population. It is noteworthy that the desire to promote breast cancer screening by mammography has been a steady feature over the past 20 years, and has been accentuated with the adoption of the organized screening program in 2004, following the 2003 cancer plan. (3)

However, as early as 2015, following the consultation of French citizens on the topic, organized screening should have been stopped in France. However, this was not the case because conclusions of this consultation were "confiscated" to allow the continuation of this screening. (4)

All means are good to promote it. The Pink October campaigns that come back year after year are proof of this. All means are good to promote it.

But the propaganda goes farther.

PUBLIC AGENCIES

The latest report of the IGAS-General Inspection of Social Affairs, an independent organization, recommends "encouraging the use of screening, regardless of the methods used". (5)

OPINION LEADERS AND MEDIA

But also, any "open mic", any offer to speak in the media, be it radio or television or the written press, allows many doctors to spread the propaganda for screening.

We recently heard Professor Axel KAHN, a medical expert and president of the Ligue contre le cancer (League against cancer), sounding the alarm on France Info radio channel, in favor of this screening (6).

Many techniques of propaganda are therefore found in this " call " (2)

- fear

- call to authority

- false statement: "Covid-19 is much less serious than cancer”

- “Media influence: radio, television, press, advertising, internet " is also present because this call is relayed by : the newspaper Sud Ouest (7), Yahoo actualité (8), Europe 1 (9) Top Santé (10) La Croix (11) France Soir (12), and this a non-exhaustive list.

Here, the COVID19 crisis, although far from being related to the problem of breast cancer, is used to promote screening. In a similar way, we read in an article in Le Monde on 26 October 2020 (13) the following comments:

"The figures are also worrying when it comes to screening, which has stopped for twelve weeks. The number of mammograms within the framework of organized breast cancer screening for 50 to 74 year olds has totally collapsed. On the Ile de France and Hauts¬ de France regions alone, their number went from about 14,000 and 9,000 respectively from mid-March to early May 2019 to zero during the lockdown, according to the French Society of Radiology."

This collapse of screening, which worries Prof. Axel Kahn so much, allows a national daily newspaper of large edition to affirm once again a lie: there is nothing to worry about if a screening which has not shown its benefit, is not carried out anymore.

MEDICAL ACTORS

It should be noted that many of doctors promoting screening have very strong ties of interest with it.

The French Society of Radiology finds it disturbing that the number of screening mammograms has totally collapsed. But is the health of women their concern? Or are there other, non-medical concerns that are preoccupying this learned society? (14)

CONCLUSION

We should not let ourselves be "blinded" by propaganda. We must remain lucid and recognize in these repetitions, carried by media more concerned by " buzz " than by a critical work, a propaganda effect, again and again.

Will this propaganda and disinformation ever stop? One can doubt it considering the last news. (5)

Yet the well-being and health of women are at stake.

Références

(1) https://nospensees.fr/mensonge-repete-mille-se-transforme-t-verite/

(2) https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propagande#Techniques_de_propagande

(3) https://cancer-rose.fr/2020/10/19/histoire-du-depistage-mammographique/

(4) https://formindep.fr/cancer-du-sein-la-concertation-confisquee/

(5) https://cancer-rose.fr/2020/10/21/ligas-recommande-le-maintien-de-la-promotion-du-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-par-mammographie-en-lintensifiant/

(6) https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/video-octobre-rose-axel-kahn-implore-les-femmes-de-se-faire-depister-le-covid-19-est-beaucoup-moins-grave-que-le-cancer-du-sein_4154331.html

(7) https://www.sudouest.fr/2020/10/24/cancer-du-sein-axel-kahn-lance-un-cri-d-alarme-pour-inciter-au-depistage-8000781-4696.php

(8) https://fr.news.yahoo.com/octobre-rose-axel-kahn-implore-085353145.html?

(9) https://www.europe1.fr/societe/debut-doctobre-rose-axel-kahn-alerte-sur-les-retards-de-diagnostic-des-cancers-du-sein-3995432

(10) https://www.topsante.com/medecine/cancers/cancer/covid-19-depistage-cancer-639344

(11) https://www.la-croix.com/Sciences-et-ethique/Deprogrammation-doperations-Linquietude-immense-malades-cancer-2020-10-27-1201121508

(12) http://www.francesoir.fr/opinions-tribunes/chronique-covid-ndeg34-le-geneticien-axel-kahn-president-de-la-ligue-contre-le

(13) https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2020/10/26/cancers-infarctus-avc-ces-pathologies-victimes-indirectes-du-covid-19_6057437_3244.html

(14) https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-tribunes-de-la-sante1-2016-3-page-21.htm#

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

The anguish of pink advocates in the face of declining participation in screening

October 6, 2020

Cécile Bour, MD

https://www.lequotidiendumedecin.fr/specialites/cancerologie/face-une-baisse-du-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-linca-lance-une-campagne-loccasion-doctobre-rose

and

https://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/sante/cancer/covid-19-les-retards-de-depistage-du-cancer-de-sein-vont-entrainer-une-augmentation-de-la-mortalite-entre-1-et-5-dans-les-dix-ans-qui-viennent-selon-la-fondation-arc_4124525.html#xtref=https://mobile.francetvinf

The anxiety-provoking communication of Pink October tries to surf on the wave of concern that the epidemic has caused among oncologists, and now tries to emphasize screening. The world of pink is worried, women who have long been manipulated[1], shamelessly incited[2] all of a sudden seem to be less enthusiastic about running and even less about running for screening.

"We need to encourage everyone to continue with screening campaigns", assures Mr. Pr. Eric Solary, president of the scientific council of the ARC foundation for cancer research. "Models indicate that the increase in breast cancer mortality will be between 1 and 5% in the next ten years."

"Faced with a decline in breast cancer screening, INCa is launching a campaign on the occasion of Pink October," proclaims the Quotidien du Médecin.

What's going on? Is the pink house burning?

Analysis

Let's analyze calmly the ever feverish messages of our institutes and health authorities, anxious, tormented, frightened and in a perpetual trance that women may turn away from their precious pink toy.

1. Assuming that there is indeed an excess of cancer deaths linked to COVID, in the years to come, it is obvious that the cause will not only be the lesser adherence to routine breast cancer screening but above all a delay in therapeutic management (by cancelling non-urgent interventions, by fear of patients being contaminated by going to the hospital or in doctors' waiting rooms), as Mr Solary admits in the article.

2. The main argument in opposition to the view of Mr. Solary is that the same model announces an increase of 2 to 5% in cancer mortality, this announced increase will concern all cancers, not only breast cancer [3].

This is the Grouvid study:

"Delays in diagnosis and treatment of cancers, linked to the first wave of coronavirus, could result in an excess of cancer mortality of 2 to 5%, five years after the start of management, according to a French study made public on Friday, September 18. These are the delays and postponements of patients' visits that have the most consequences, shows the research presented by statistician Aurélie Bardet of the Gustave-Roussy Institute in Villejuif (Val-de-Marne)."

"These delays could result in a "minimum 2% increase in cancer deaths" five years after diagnosis. This excess mortality would mainly affect liver, sarcoma and head and neck cancers. This research is based on a mathematical model that allowed an assessment of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the organization of cancer care and the consequences on prognosis, taking into account the lags related to lockdown." (Grouvid study)

https://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/coronavirus-une-surmortalite-par-cancers-de-2-a-5-liee-a-la-premiere-vague-de-l-epidemie-de-covid-19-selon-une-etude_4110821.html

Mr. Solary maintains that "The models indicate". But here we are, as far as screening and the Pink October campaign are concerned, we are mostly in communication and very little in science.

Which models, with which data in input?

"The models indicate", it ends up sounding like Kaa's song from the Jungle Book: " trust me, believe me...".

And that is difficult, because after all the misinformation of women we become doubtful to be able to trust blindly anyone...

Références

[1]https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2020/12/17/manipulation-of-information/

[2] https://cortecs.org/2016/05/

[3] https://mobile.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/coronavirus-une-surmortalite-par-cancers-de-2-a-5-liee-a-la-premiere-vague-de-l-epidemie-de-covid-19-selon-une-etude_4110821.html

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

Self-selection bias, a study that illustrates it

March 21, 2021

Cécile Bour, MD

One of our faithful and wise readers, whom we thank, asked our opinion on a study by Tabar and Duffy, recently published but we had not mentioned. 

https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2021203935

According to this publication, there would be a significant reduction in mortality from breast cancer in patients who were monitored.

Here are our comments. We did not mention this study because there is a huge and well-known selection bias, namely that women who do not participate in screening are very different from those who do; and this bias can explain the results as well as the screening itself in this population.

On Medscape we can read:

https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/933105

One of the experts who was approached by Medscape Medical News to comment on the new study, Philippe Autier, MPH, MD, PhD, from the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health at the International Prevention Research Institute, Dardilly, France, questioned the methodology of the study. "This method is incorrect simply because women attending screening are different from women not attending screening," he said. "The former are more health aware and have healthier behaviors than the latter, and this is a well-known fact and supported by the literature."

Dr Autier emphasized that it is practically impossible to control for that bias, which is known as confounding by indication.

"The statistical methods used for attenuating the so-called self-selection are very approximate and based on unverified assumptions," he said. "For this reason, the Handbook on Breast Cancer Screening produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer clearly stated that 'observational studies based on individual screening history, no matter how well designed and conducted, should not be regarded as providing evidence for an effect of screening,' and the methodology in this paper has never been recommended by the [agency]."

A better way of conducting this type of study would have been to show the incidence trends of advanced-stage breast cancer in Sweden for the entire female population aged 40 years and older, he asserts. Dr Autier used that methodology in his own study in the Netherlands, as previously reported by Medscape Medical News.[4]That study foundt hat in the Netherlands, screening mammography over a period of 24 years among women aged 50 to 74 years had little effect on reducing rates of advanced breast cancer or mortality from the disease.

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

NEW BILINGUAL MEDIA LIBRARY

Cancer Rose, 31 March 2021

Cancer Rose launches new bilingual media library

Cancer Rose launches a new media library for general public and professionals who want to learn more about breast cancer and its screening, as well as about our activities on information and education. You will find it integrated in the menu, among the other categories of the website Cancer Rose.

The new design of our bilingual media library provides improved navigation to help our visitors find information easily.  Visitors can conveniently browse content, read and download all open-access documents, and view videos.

For general public, the media library offers posters, brochures, information videos, as well as an excerpt from Dr. Bernard Duperray's book "Dépistage du cancer du sein - la grande illusion".

For professionals, the media library offers the courses of Dr. Bernard Duperray, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine Paris Descartes, within the inter-university diploma of breast pathology, as well as a library of clinical cases.

In addition, the media library provides access to Cancer Rose press releases and articles, as well as to presentations given at various events and conferences in France and abroad, since the Association was founded.

Links to Cancer Rose's social networks and the possibility of sharing any content you wish on your favourite social network are present at all times when you browse the media library.

Enjoy your visit on https://cancer-rose.fr/en/media-library/ !

Cancer Rose collective

Cancer Rose is a Non-Profit Organization under French law made up of independent Medical Doctors, a Doctor in Toxicology and a patient representative, with the goal of providing fair, transparent and objective information for women on mass screening for breast cancer, based on scientific evidence. Members of Cancer Rose have no sponsorships, honoraria, monetary support or conflict of interest from any commercial sources. They dedicate their time to this activity on a voluntary basis. The funds necessary for the functioning of this website and production of information materials (educational videos, brochures, posters) are generated by individual donations and members contributions.

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

What is a screening mammogram ?

There is a difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram.

  • A screening mammogram is the routine mammogram that you are asked to have every two years, even though there are no symptoms, upon screening invitation letter
  • A diagnostic mammogram is one that is prompted by the appearance of a sign or symptom in the breast. This symptom requires an exploration by mammography, among other imaging techniques, in order to identify and diagnose the problem in the breast.

What are the major signs that should lead you to consult?

  • Modification of the roundness, of the general shape of the breast (irregularities, distortions).
  • Retraction of the nipple
  • Recent lump or swelling, especially if there is little mobility when palpated.
  • Flat, i.e. the flatter area of the breast, which disrupt the roundness of the breast.
  • Bloody discharge
  • Unexplained redness
  • Lump in the armpit, persistent or increasing in volume
  • "Orange peel" with the appearance in the affected area of "pads", small blisters perceptible between two fingers.
  • Wound on the skin, due to ulcerative cancer
  • Swelling and firmness of the entire breast
  • Deeply palpable mass, occurring without visible external deformation
    Beware, not all of these signs are typical of cancer; they can also be indicative of benign breast disease! Nevertheless, they should motivate you to consult a doctor.

Screening mammography is not a prevention method.

-Preventing a disease means doing everything possible to ensure that it does not occur. For example, avoiding smoking is a good preventive attitude towards lung cancer.

-Screening is searching for a disease in a person who has no symptoms, and who does not complain about anything at all. Repeating mammograms can in no way prevent breast cancer. The mammographic image restitutes what is already present in the organ.

How does a mammography screening take place in France ?

In practice, the woman notified to attend makes an appointment at the radiology office of her choice. She will have a mammography exam followed by an ultrasound examination depending on necessity (dense breasts or radiological abnormality to be clarified). These images will be interpreted by the radiologist, who is the "first reader" of the examination. He will make a report and propose a classification of the examination (see below). This file (images and report of the first reader) is sent to the departmental structure in charge of managing the screening depending on the patient residence. The images will be reviewed there by another radiologist, the "second reader" , coming from another radiology office or medical imaging structure, and who does not know the woman patient. He will establish his verdict without having seen or questioned her, only on the available images. He will 'report' his verdict in the form of a classification, either in concordance with the first radiologist reader or, on the contrary, in discordance, which will imply a call back of the woman patient for further exploration.
Mammography classification is a radiological classification, depending on the greater or lesser degree of certainty that the imagery pleads in favour of a cancerous lesion. It is by no means a prognostic classification. The ACR (American College of Radiology) classification was developed in 1990. There are 5 stages.

ACR 1: normal, the breast is "nothing to report".
ACR 2: images which are just benign abnormalities, such as small axillary ganglions, micro cysts, benign calcifications, images which are not always known what they are but which have remained unchanged for ages, amorphous fibro-adenomas, or cysts which are already well known.
ACR 3: an image which is not worrying but whose outcome are wished to be checked, which has not been known before, or which was been known but has changed slightly compared to previous evaluations. The proposed conduct is a single monitoring at 4 or 6 months, depending on whether masses or calcifications are involved, and then eventually at one year.
ACR 4 means that there is a high probability of cancer, and in any case a suspicious anomaly, to be further investigated. ACR4 therefore automatically implies a biopsy, under ultrasound (micro-biopsy) or under radiographic control, by a mammotome procedure (macro-biopsy), or directly by biopsy-exeresis.
ACR 5: the anomaly is very strongly suspected of malignancy and the semiological criteria are quite representative and typical of malignancy.
ACR 0 designates an incomplete examination to which other imaging examinations must be associated.

For more explanations and details read here: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2020/12/30/arc-classification/
Below is a diagram that illustrates the possible situations during a mammography screening.

Click to enlarge

You can see the so-called "false alarm" situation. This is the suspicion of cancer, on a mammographic image, but which will not be confirmed after further examinations. These additional examinations are sometimes heavy, and sometimes even result in biopsies, the number of which has greatly increased since the screening in place, this situation being favoured by the double reading. Experiencing a false alarm is often very stressful, as the woman has to wait sometimes several days or even weeks for confirmation of the absence of disease. For every 1,000 women over the age of 50 participating in screening for 20 years, there are an estimated 1,000 false alarms in France, leading to 150 to 200 unnecessary biopsies (Revue Prescrire, February 2015/Tome 35 N°376).

This is, along with overdiagnosis and radiotoxicity, the third harmful effect of mammographic screening.

False alarm and overdiagnosis aren't the same thing, don't confuse both !

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

Pandemia and Screening – Short summary of what you’ve been told

March 16, 2021 C.Bour MD

October 2020

The anxiogenic communication of Pink October campaign tries to surf on the wave of anxiety caused by the epidemic, through oncologists, and now attempts to put emphasis on screening. The world of pink is worried, women who have long been manipulated, shamelessly incited, suddenly seem to be less enthusiastic to run and even less to run for screening.

Decryption here: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/04/02/the-anguish-of-pink-advocates-in-the-face-of-declining-participation-in-screening/

November 2020

The pro-screening propaganda is intensifying in the middle of the Covid pandemic, however, with a privileged targeting of women: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/04/02/screening-propaganda/

A study models an increase of cancers to be expected in the next years due to delays in cancer treatment, there is no mention of screening in this study, yet the media and opinion leaders make a false amalgam and present the delays in screening as main factor of an expected excess of mortality: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/01/18/covid-19-pandemic-and-cancer-management/

February 2021

What if it would be the other way around? What if holding off on screening would be beneficial by reducing over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment? What if we would study this?
A project is emerging: https://cancer-rose.fr/en/2021/02/26/drop-in-cancer-screening-during-covid-19-may-aid-research-on-overdiagnosis/

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

A book: breast cancer screening, the great illusion

French links: https://cancer-rose.fr/2019/08/29/communique-de-presse-livre-b-duperray-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-la-grande-illusion/

https://www.thierrysouccar.com/sante/info/cancer-du-sein-le-depistage-est-il-utile-5429

Download / Télécharger

Biography of the author

Download / Télécharger

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

2020 PRESS OVERVIEW

https://formindep.fr/depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-la-grande-illusion/

Letter of 4 Collectives about MyPebs Study 

Article JIM

https://cancer-rose.fr/my-pebs/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Capture-décran-2020-03-07-à-16.43.49.png

Article BMJ

ARTICLE BMJ EN FRANçAIS

Article Quotidien du Médecin du 12 mars 2020

On Forminep website:

https://formindep.fr/manipulation-de-linformation-sur-le-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-comme-thematique-scientifique/

____________________

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/grand-est/entretien-radiologue-fondatrice-cancer-rose-association-qui-milite-contre-depistage-du-cancer-du-sein-1881724.html

2021

Article Dr Marc Gourmelon dans la Revue Pratiques
Article of M.Gourmelon MD in english here https://cancer-rose.fr/2021/03/08/blind-and-deaf/

Rapid response on BMJ
https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n256/rapid-responses

Bien Être Santé
https://cancer-rose.fr/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2021-01-26-HAPPY-BIEN-ETRE-Fevrier-avril-2021-10000000060480471.pdf

On Formindep website
https://formindep.fr/cancer-rose-article-futur-plan-cancer/

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.

2019 PRESS OVERVIEW

Book of Dr B.Duperray, editor: T.Souccar "Dépistage du cancer du sein, la grande illusion"

Interview Dr Bernard Duperray pour France Info 

Article La Nutrition 

Article Dis-Leur

HUMA 19-25 sept 2019

France Info/facebook

Point de vue : le dépistage du cancer du sein est-il néfaste ?

Le dépistage organisé du cancer du sein est-il un échec ? Le médecin radiologue Bernard Duperray met en garde.

Gepostet von franceinfo vidéo am Dienstag, 17. September 2019

Magazine ELLE-20 septembre 2019 du 20 septembre 2019, version papier

Article Huff Post du 1 octobre 2019

Partage fb Huff Post

CNEWS

Femmes d'aujourd'hui 

Doctissimo

Dossier Neosanté Neosanté1 Neosanté2 Neosanté3

Alternative Bien-Etre

magazine Equilibre, JIR GROUPE MEDIA, Laïla Bapoo

France Info 3 Occitanie

Edito Rebelles

Voir aussi : https://plus.lesoir.be/251582/article/2019-10-04/octobre-rose-une-campagne-commerciale-qui-infantilise-les-femmes?fbclid=IwAR0aC95wcCOrSoTYeyKHIur12khdCERNmGvlj0-aYTIjqjwhGlplt46C2j0

Press about MyPebs Study https://cancer-rose.fr/my-pebs/2019/07/01/retour-presse-article-jim/

article JIM

Revue Prescrire octobre 2019

Presc 432 K Rose MyPeBS

Le Parisien septembre 2019

lancement MyPeBS dans le Parisien 17092019

Débat sur RTBF Belgique

Emission du mercredi 30 octobre 2019

La Croix

https://www.la-croix.com/Sciences-et-ethique/Sante/Cancer-sein-depistage-personnalise-letude-2019-09-17-1201048118

Documentary on RTL Belgique : https://cancer-rose.fr/2019/06/14/participation-cancer-rose-a-un-reportage-sur-rtl-belgique/

Cancer Rose est un collectif de professionnels de la santé, rassemblés en association. Cancer Rose fonctionne sans publicité, sans conflit d’intérêt, sans subvention. Merci de soutenir notre action sur HelloAsso.


Cancer Rose is a French non-profit organization of health care professionals. Cancer Rose performs its activity without advertising, conflict of interest, subsidies. Thank you to support our activity on HelloAsso.