The BMJ Today: The diesel scandal and breast cancer

volkswagen• Paul Wilkinson and Andy Haines call for consequences to the Volkswagen diesel scandal in an editorial. Perhaps the lesson from the Volkswagen episode is not just whether manufacturers will comply with the legislation aimed at cleaning an inherently polluting fuel source. It may be time for society to commit to a decisive break with fossil fuel combustion.

Mammogram. Coloured mammogram (breast X-ray) showing a malignant (cancerous) tumour (patchy area) in the patient's breast. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. The cancer can invade surrounding tissue and spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). Treatment is with removal of the tumour, or complete removal of the breast. Surgery is often combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

• Sepideh Saadatmand and colleagues assessed the influence of stage at breast cancer diagnosis, tumour biology, and treatment on survival in contemporary times of better (neo-)adjuvant systemic therapy in a large population based study from the Netherlands.

They report that tumour stage at diagnosis of breast cancer still influences overall survival significantly in the current era of effective systemic therapy. Diagnosis of breast cancer at an early tumour stage remains vital.

• In an accompanying editorial, Ines Vaz-Luis and Harold J Burstein state that this is a powerful, albeit indirect, argument in favour of screening mammography. Catching cancers when they are smaller still makes a difference.

• Meg Carter draws attention to the commercialisation of breast cancer awareness campaigning and its possible drawbacks in a feature.


Georg Röggla is an associate editor with The BMJ.