Probably, but it is difficult to determine this at the individual level, i.e. for a given patient. Some cancers are so indolent and slow-growing that they might not ever have been detected otherwise in a patient’s lifetime (“overdiagnosis”). While estimates of overdiagnosis vary, on average, of 11 breast cancers found with screening, 2 will be life saving, 1 will represent overdiagnosis, and 8 will be found earlier than they would have been without screening (with better prognosis) . Some ductal carcinoma in situ found on the first screening examination represents overdiagnosis (estimated at 37% of such cases), but new findings on subsequent screens are uncommonly overdiagnosis (estimated at 4% of cancers on annual screens).
1. Yen MF, Tabar L, Vitak B, Smith RA, Chen HH, Duffy SW. Quantifying the potential problem of overdiagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ in breast cancer screening. Eur J Cancer 2003; 39:1746-1754