40% less breast can­cer deaths af­ter screen­ing

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Women who un­dergo mam­mog­ra­phy screen­ing re­duce their risk of dy­ing from breast can­cer by 40 per­cent, an in­ter­na­tional study pub­lished in the United States showed.

Re­searchers re­ported that women aged 50 to 69 who re­ceived screen­ing were 40 per­cent less likely to suc­cumb to the de­crease com­pared to women who were not screened.

Sim­ply invit­ing a woman to un­dergo a mam­mog­ra­phy re­duced her risk of death from breast can­cer by 23 per­cent, the re­searchers said in a study in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine Wed­nes­day.

Not all women act on the in­vi­ta­tion, how­ever.

“This im­por­tant anal­y­sis will hope­fully re­as­sure women around the world that breast screen­ing with mam­mog­ra­phy saves lives,” said co-au­thor Stephen Duffy of Queen Mary Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don.

“The ev­i­dence proves breast screen­ing is a vi­tal tool in in­creas­ing early di­ag­no­sis of breast can­cer and there­fore re­duc­ing the num­ber of deaths,” he added.

The study was con­ducted by ex­perts from 16 coun­tries, who eval­u­ated dif­fer­ent meth­ods of breast can­cer de­tec­tion across 11 con­trolled clin­i­cal tri­als and 40 ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies.

The re­port cor­rob­o­rates previ- ous re­search find­ings that women in the 50-69 age range ben­e­fit most from breast can­cer screen­ing. But it also pointed to stud­ies in­di­cat­ing women aged be­tween 70 and 74 also stand to gain from mam­mog­ra­phy.

How­ever, there was “limited ev­i­dence” to sup­port screen­ing women in their 40s, the re­searchers found.

“De­spite ev­i­dence that mam­mog­ra­phy screen­ing is ef­fec­tive, we still need to carry out fur­ther re­search on al­ter­na­tive screen­ing meth­ods, such as the promis­ing ‘dig­i­tal breast to­mosyn­the­sis,’” Duffy said.

The new form of 3D imag­ing could im­prove mam­mog­ra­phy ac­cu­racy in deal­ing with dense breast tis­sue, he said.

The study also shows that the benefits of mam­mog­ra­phy out­weigh the risks, which in­clude false-pos­i­tive re­sults, over­diag­no­sis and pos­si­bly ra­di­a­tion-in­duced can­cer.

Breast can­cer is “the most fre­quently di­ag­nosed can­cer in women world­wide,” Queen Mary Uni­ver­sity said in a press re­lease.

It is the sec­ond-largest cause of can­cer deaths in de­vel­oped coun­tries and the first in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries, it said.

Breast can­cer caused 521,000 deaths world­wide in 2012, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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