Commons Select Committee on NHS Health Screening

Since I last posted, we have moved house. We are still coming round from the upheaval, and are busy helping B’s parents to move, too! But the little house and the large office are shaping up; I cooked apple crumble for 50 yesterday, and B is digging on a land party on Sunday (we have benefited from other people’s gardening and cooking as well). As I said before, busy is good, and though I had to be efficient about re-registering with the local surgery in order to maintain continuity in my medication, I haven’t given breast cancer much thought recently. But before the rush started, I sent a submission to this Select Committee. This is now published along with other submissions, here (scroll down the page, noting the choice of a cute picture of a prenatal scan – not a needle, a speculum, or a mammography machine):

I have not read all the submissions in detail, but here is what I have gleaned so far re breast cancer screening.

The Royal College of Physicians and  the radiologists (who both put in very slight submissions), support the screening programme. So do two cancer charities (odd –  what’s their investment in it?), and Public Health England, who runs it. But this is the view of all the other individuals and groups who wrote to the Inquiry, some of them in great detail:

The breast cancer screening programme is rubbish. It is not carried out ethically: it does harm and no good; it does not save lives; it costs a lot of money.

I wonder what happens next.



  1. Hi E This is a bravura piece and you so deserve not to have been patronised – “they” whoever they are insult your intelligence ! xxooxx Caroline


  2. Just read your submission. Very good, succinct, & helps me understand issue better. Also constructive – who can argue against a decision aid system with a trained impartial adviser or counsellor? I was not at all impressed by Royal college of physicians response- must have taken someone an hour at most! Insulting in its brevity and superficial. But, hey, what do We ( you & I) know? Well – you know a lot more than me & most others about this. Wonder what people like Susan Sontag or Ivan Illich would have said – surely agreed with you. And I wonder what Claire will do when she gets offered… Who reads these submissions ? Hope yours is making an impact. Random switch – but not unconnected – am sad to see Tony Benn has died. Great guy.

    Love, Andrew

    Sent from my iPad


    • I would not advise any one to go now, or at least not without doing some serious reading. Read Miriam Pryke’s submission too – well-referenced, comprehensive and passionate.

      I wish I had had the strength to resist treatment – although I have not come across any one who has done so once they have a diagnosis of invasive carcinoma like me, so I have to be kind to myself about “giving in”; I have only read about women who have refused treatment once diagnosed with DCIS (=pre-cancerous).

  3. It’s also well worth taking a look at submissions by Sue Warman, Margaret McCartney (and her blog), Susan Bewley for the truth about screening and health checks.

    • Thank you – I have read them all, and am glad to see them there! Thank you too for your blog which is so informative.

  4. Hi Liz. I have just read through your blog and am so sorry to hear this news. Also cross with my self for not doing this earlier and sending you lots of love also to B and the girls. How lovely to have a new home.
    I recently went for one of those boob squishing screenings and it felt like you had a finger trapped in a door and afterwards that awful throbbing and aching for a day afterwards. This trauma to your boobs cant be good for them… could it not trigger off a problem later!!
    We have lots of brave women who stay with us, some with double mastectomy’s. Its very empowering for others.
    My Granny had a 2lb cancer in her left boob, how long it had been there, they had no clue, she had an opp and lives till she was 102. Brilliant women, spent all her time raising money for charities and cracking rude jokes.

    Lots of love and kisses to you and I hope you continue to heal,
    Becky xxxxxxxxxxxx

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