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ACR, SBI on cancer study: More breast cancer screening needed in younger women
Date:9/8/2013

A new analysis published online Sept. 9 in Cancer confirms the need for greater use of annual mammography in women ages 40-49 as recommended by the American Cancer Society, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging for all women 40 and older. It also confirms that, even with new therapeutics and protocols for treating breast cancer, regular mammography screening is still the best way to significantly reduce breast cancer deaths.

The study, which involved 7,301 patients, found that 71 percent 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 never had a mammogram prior to diagnosis. If treatment were the primary survival factor, deaths would not have been so prevalent among the non-screened group.

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. For women who died of breast cancer, the median age at diagnosis was 49; for those dying of any other cause, the median age at diagnosis was 72. This suggests that women under 50 are a primary group in which greater screening compliance would provide the greatest benefit.

"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 Barbara S. Monsees, MD, FACR, 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 is especially true for younger women, who tend to have faster growing tumors."

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Contact: Shawn Farley
PR@acr.org
703-648-8936
American College of Radiology
Source:Eurekalert

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