The increase in the number of commercial breast imaging services, along with marketing tactics to promote them as non-invasive, safe and comfortable have raised concerns of the West Australian Cancer Council.
According to Professor Janet Hiller of the University of Adelaide who is the director of Adelaide Health Technology Assessment, these concerns about the technology of breast screening services were raised because there was inconclusive evidence about their safety and effectiveness.
Prof Hiller said, I do not believe that the commercial technologies currently being offered in WA has been shown to be effective in detecting breast cancer in women who do not have symptoms.
She adviced women to stick to proven methods of breast cancer detection such as mammogram until further proof of the effectiveness of commercial breast imaging services are made available.
Professor Christobel Saunders, president of the Cancer Council who is a top expert breast cancer surgeon and researcher warns women who consider paying for these unproven scanning services.
She stressed that, The only proven and reliable screening method is mammogram and women should be wary of claims that other technologies can detect breast cancer in women with no symptoms.
These clinics are focusing on younger women and those with dense breast tissue or implants, Prof Saunders said, and this is a cause of concern.
Women who are considering commercial methods of breast scanning must be told of the level of effectiveness of the services and their potential risks, she says.
Prof Saunders calls on the State government to give these clinics standard regulation and ensure that the claims they make must be based on peer-reviewed scientific studies, and not on claims made by manufacturers of the commercial breast imaging technologies.
For more assistance about breast cancer, please call the Cancer Council Helpline, 13 11 20.