Yearly mammograms can save lives, study says
A new study finds evidence that regular mammograms can help save lives through early detection. (Monkey Business Images / shutterstock.com)
Published Monday, September 9, 2013 12:30PM EDT
(Relaxnews) - For women 40 and over, a new study finds that regular mammography screening is still the best way to go.
A new analysis to be published online September 9 in the journal Cancer finds that along with new therapeutics and protocols for treating breast cancer, regular mammography screening for women 40 and older can significantly reduce breast cancer deaths through early detection.
The Harvard Medical School study, which involved 7,301 patients, found that 71 per cent of confirmed breast cancer deaths occurred in the 20 percent of the study population that did not receive regular mammograms. The majority of those who died from breast cancer had never had a mammogram prior to diagnosis.
Moreover, 50 percent of the breast cancer deaths occurred in women under the age of 50, while only 13 percent were in women ages 70 or older.
"These findings should quiet those who argue that women age 40-49 do not need regular mammography screening. In fact, these women need annual screening -- as do all women 40 and older. This is the message physicians should be promoting," said Dr. Barbara S. Monsees, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission. "Breast cancer treatment has come a long way, but, as this study demonstrates, these advances have not negated the value of, or the need for early detection."
"This study should effectively end confusion over when, and particularly if, women need to begin screening," said Dr. Murray Rebner, president of the Society of Breast Imaging.
With more prevalent screening, especially in younger women, the researchers said that their study suggests that breast cancer mortality could decrease to less than 10 per cent overall in the next 10 years, and perhaps to as low as 5 per cent overall by 2030.