Half a million breast cancer deaths have been avoided

Breakthrough Breast Cancer Study Urges Screening For Women Aged 35 With Family

It's about finding breast cancer early and all of the new and the improved treatments combining to save lives. To estimate the number of breast cancer deaths averted since 1989 due to the collective effects of both screening mammography and improved treatment, R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Jay Baker, MD, of Duke University Medical Center, and Mark Helvie, MD, of the University of Michigan Health System, analyzed breast cancer mortality data and female population data for US women aged 40 to 84 years over the past three decades.

The American Cancer Society suggests women 40 to 44 years old should have a choice to start annual mammograms.

Women with a family history of breast cancer should have mammogram screening from the age of 35, new research suggests.

However, further analysis is needed to estimate the costs, risks and the benefits of pre-screening for breast cancer.

For the study, experts led by a team at the University of Manchester, writing in the journal EClinicalMedicine from The Lancet, examined data for 2,899 women from 2006 to 2015.

In total, 50 breast cancers were detected (in 49 women), of which 35 were invasive tumours.

"Recent reviews of mammography screening have focused media attention on some of the risks of mammography screening, such as call-backs for additional imaging and breast biopsies, downplaying the most important aspect of screening-that finding and treating breast cancer early saves women's lives". 28 of those discovered were smaller than 2cm in size, 7 had spread to the lymph nodes.

In this group, far fewer cancers were detected when they were still small (45%) and far more of the women's tumours had already spread to the lymph nodes.

Lead author Professor Gareth Evans, from the University of Manchester, said the results of the new trial were "very promising".

Breast cancer is the UK's most common cancer, with around 55,000 women and 350 men being diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom - and it is estimated that around 5-15% of cases are linked to a family history of the disease.

Annual screening for younger women aged 35-39 who have a family history of breast cancer would be highly effective in detecting tumours earlier, a major United Kingdom trial based in Manchester has found.

In its response, NHS England spokesperson assured to consider the possible changes to the screening programme in the review.

"The most important thing is to create awareness for breast cancer, our ability to fight and early detection", said Starkey.

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