Special journal issue celebrates 30 years of UK breast screening

Thursday 15 March 2018

Leading breast imaging clinicians have explored the controversies, diagnostic challenges and future provision of the NHS Breast Screening Programme in a dedicated academic journal marking the 30th anniversary of the scheme.

Out this week, the April issue of The Royal College of Radiologists’ (RCR) Clinical Radiology journal features papers on managing overdiagnosis and active surveillance, monitoring breast density as a cancer risk factor and the variety of new imaging modalities that could pave the way for more tailored screening.   

The special issue review topics include:

  • Personalised screening1, which looks at identifying risk factors for breast cancer and current trials of new imaging modalities that could lead to more tailored diagnoses
  • Breast density2 and its importance in imaging quality, patient cancer risk and the challenges around the methodology of recording density as part of the UK programme
  • Breast tomosynthesis3, the technical aspects of the modality and the need for ongoing evidence around its cost-effectiveness as a widespread screening technique
  • Overdiagnosis4  and clinician and public attitudes and understanding of overdiagnosis and potential over-treatment, and the role of current trials in supporting active surveillance
  • Performance metrics5, the historic and ongoing importance of service-level data and the future collection of individual clinical performance metrics

The special journal issue was edited by Leeds-based breast radiologist and British Society of Breast Radiology secretary Dr Nisha Sharma.

Commenting on the article submissions Dr Sharma said:

“Thirty years on from the launch of the breast screening programme in 1988 and breast imaging remains a constantly evolving, exciting field with the development of new imaging technologies that push the boundaries and challenge radiologists to adopt new ways of working and thinking.

“I would like to thank all the authors for taking the personal time and effort to write these excellent reviews, and I hope readers find them as informative, enlightening, and thought-provoking as I have.”

Fellow breast radiologist and RCR Vice-President for Clinical Radiology Dr Caroline Rubin added:

“Breast cancer diagnostic services are under increasing pressure due to manpower constraints and the dire need for more radiologists.

“Despite this, our clinicians remain forward-thinking and passionate about opportunities for fine-tuning screening protocols and techniques, as brilliantly demonstrated by all of the authors in our journal special issue.”   


Notes and references

The April 2018 special issue of Clinical Radiology has now been distributed to RCR Fellows and members. Online abstracts and versions of the articles can be found via the Clinical Radiology website.

The issue articles are:

1. Gilbert FJ, Selamoglu, A. Personalised screening: is this the way forward?
2. Vinnicombe, SJ. Breast density: why all the fuss?
3. Michell MJ, Batohi B. Role of tomosynthesis in breast imaging going forward.
4. Wallis MG. How do we manage overdiagnosis/overtreatment in breast screening?
5. Cohen SL, Blanks RG, Jenkins J, Kearins O. Role of performance metrics in breast screening imaging — where are we and where should we be?

Additional information

  • For further information, please contact Emma Cooper on 020 7406 5941 or email emma_cooper@rcr.ac.uk Out of office hours please call 07554 998197.
  • The Royal College of Radiologists has over 10,500 Fellows and members worldwide, representing the specialties of clinical oncology and clinical radiology.
  • The College sets and maintains the standards for entry to and practice in the specialties in addition to leading and supporting practitioners throughout their career.