A new study published online in the September 2013 journal Cancer revealed that over 70% of the deaths attributed to breast cancer were found in women who did not receive regular screening mammograms. The study researched more than 7,000 women and has supported the belief of many researchers - breast screening saves lives -- particularly for women in their 40s.
As many of you know, the use of mammography for breast cancer screening in women between the ages of 40 and 49 has been surrounded by controversy since 2009 when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) proposed that screening be limited to women ages 50 to 74 years, with biennial screenings rather than annual.
Dr. Blake Cady and colleagues used data from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital and tracked invasive breast cancers diagnosed between 1990 and 1999 and followed through 2007.
"In the presence of conflicting evidence, national recommendations for screening mammography have become a point of contention," wrote corresponding author and surgical oncologist Dr. Blake Cady and colleagues. "Surgical procedures, systemic adjuvant therapies, and radiation treatments for breast cancer have changed over recent decades, and as breast cancer mortality continues to decline, it is important to determine the proportional decrease in mortality, if any, that is due to modern mammography."
For more information see:
Study: Lack of breast screening leads to more cancer deaths
Women in their 40s reluctant to give up breast screening, May 17, 2013
Are women ignoring USPSTF's breast screening advice?, April 19, 2013
Reduced breast cancer screening ups mortality risk in older women, April 8, 2013
JAMA IM: Breast screening every 2 years OK for most women, March 18, 2013
USPSTF guidelines sparked decrease in screening mammo rates, December 4, 2012