Thousands of women in the U.K. are being wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer, according to a study.
The report suggests healthy patients attending cancer screenings are having their conditions "overdiagnosed" by doctors, resulting in needless chemotherapy or surgery.
The study was compiled by Professor Peter Gotzsche at the Cochrane Center in Copenhagen and published in the "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine."
Each year, 7,000 women in the U.K. receive unnecessary breast cancer treatment because of overdiagnosis because mammography also identifies women who have slight lesions contained in their milk ducts, which may or may not develop into cancer.
As it is not yet possible to predict which patients will develop tumors, all are treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, something Professor Gotzsche believes is avoidable.