Warn against Aleris' private mammography invitations
In an Op-Ed published in the Norwegian daily newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on November 29, researchers from the Clinical Effectiveness Research group criticize Norwegian private hospital Aleris' offer to women for mammography screening. Aleris actively offers mammography to women outside the recommended screening age and with shorter intervals, a service which is associated with more harm than benefit. The authors suspect Aleris of creating health anxiety in order to maximize profit.
The Op-Ed about mammography screening is authored by associate professor Mette Kalager, PhD-scholar Lise M. Helsingen and general practitioner (GP) Eirik M. Hagen and was motivated by Eirik M. Hagen’s experience of female patients walking into his office with a letter from Aleris private hospital encouraging the woman to ask her GP to get a referral for mammography screening at Aleris.
We worry that Aleris is creating health anxiety in order to profit on mammography. It is shocking that they do not inform their patients about the risk of overdiagnosis and unnecessary harm inflicted by these examinations, says Lise M. Helsingen.
Aleris has a member service called "Mammovakten" (eng: "mammo guard ") where women in all age groups are reminded about mammography screening exams as often as once a year. This approach is not in accordance with good clinical practice for mammography screening. Mammography screening for women below the age of 50 years is discouraged in Norway and most other countries, because of the high risk of overdiagnosis of cancer and the very low effectiveness of screening in this age group. Yearly mammography also increases the risk of radiation. In a comment published along the Op-Ed, the Norwegian Radiation Authorities agree with the researchers critique and call Aleris practice not congruent with Norwegian radiation protection regulations.