New cancer research published this year suggests that for every 2,000 women screened for the disease one life is saved, but around ten are treated unnecessarily.

Joan Austoker, director of the primary care education research group at Oxford University and author of government advice for the NHS, has said that more information should be provided to women about the screening process.

Several Oxford medics thought while the anxiety caused was unfortunate, the lives saved justified it. They also pointed out that doctors are doing everything they can to make the screening process easier.

New guidelines for the NHS are being released at the end of 2009.