Navigation Links
Longest Trial Ever Confirms Mammograms' Benefits

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Mammography screening reduces breast cancer deaths even more than most experts have long believed, according to a new, large-scale Swedish trial.

In a study with a follow-up of nearly three decades -- the longest ever -- the researchers found that the benefits of the screenings become clearer as the decades roll on.

In fact, most of the benefits occur more than 10 years after mammography begins, and the screenings prevent far more breast cancer deaths than other, shorter studies have found, the report indicated.

"The big news is that if one considers the long-term effects on breast cancer mortality, the absolute benefit of screening in terms of number of lives saved is considerably greater than previously thought," said lead author Stephen W. Duffy, professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary, University of London.

Experts have long debated the best age for mammography screening to begin and how often it should be done.

In the new study, Duffy and colleagues looked at more than 133,000 women ages 40 to 74, living in two Swedish counties.

Researchers assigned them either to a group invited to mammogram screening or a group receiving usual care. The screening phase lasted about seven years. Women aged 40 to 49 got invited to screening every two years; women 50 to 74 every 33 months. The follow-up lasted 29 years.

For every 1,000 to 1,500 mammograms, one breast cancer death was prevented, Duffy's team found.

Other analyses have found, for instance, that for every 2,500 women aged 40 to 49 invited to screening, one death was prevented.

The study, whose authors reported no conflicts of interest, is published in the June 28 online edition of the journal Radiology.

"I was surprised and reassured by how long-lasting the effect was, and how consistent over three decades," Duffy said.

Most of the benefit occurs more than 10 years after the screening starts, he added.

It was not possible to "tease out" the specific benefit of screening women in their 40s, one area of debate, he noted. But other reviews suggest that "although the benefit is smaller, there is still a mortality reduction with screening women in their 40s," Duffy said.

At the end of the study, the investigators found 30 percent fewer breast cancer deaths overall in the group invited to screening compared to those not screened.

There was also a substantial absolute reduction in cancer deaths. At 29 years of follow-up, 34 to 42 years of life were saved for each 1,000 women screened for seven years, and one breast cancer death prevented for every 414 to 519 women. Had the screening continued another 10 years with the same benefits, only 300 screenings would be needed to save one life, the study reported.

In addition, for every 1,000 women screened every two years from ages 40 to 69, about eight to 11 deaths from breast cancer would be prevented, according to the study authors.

Duffy said he does not expect the study results to put to rest the mammography debate.

"There will always be skeptics, who argue that the benefits of screening are too small to justify its financial and human costs," Duffy said. "They have tended to argue this on the basis of deaths prevented during 10 years of screening. Our results show that this argument is invalid, since the majority of the mortality benefit occurs more than 10 years after starting screening."

He and his colleagues noted that the drawbacks of mammography include the risk of radiation exposure and over-diagnosis. However, they wrote that the radiation dose in this trial was much smaller than most modern procedures since it was single-view mammography and over-diagnosis occurred in only a "small fraction" of the cases.

The findings are similar to those from previous studies, said Dr. Virginia Moyer, head of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which in 2009 advised that the decision to start regular screenings every two years before age 50 should be discussed with a woman's doctor. It recommends screening every other year for women aged 50 to 74.

The findings, she said, will not significantly impact the debate.

Moyer added: "When the task force reviewed all evidence for women 40 to 49, it found that about 2,000 to 2,500 women had to be invited to mammography screening to prevent one breast cancer death, which would be 40 to 50 per 100,000 women."

Another expert, Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study "proves what most clinicians hold to be true: screening mammograms save lives."

More information

To learn more about the screening guidelines, visit the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

SOURCES: Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., chair, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Stephen Duffy, M.Sc., professor of cancer screening, Queen Mary University of London, U.K.; June 28, 2011, Radiology, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Women More Likely to Fail Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation
2. Single gene mutation induces endometrial cancer
3. NEJM Publishes Trial Results Demonstrating Bard FLAIR Endovascular Stent Graft Is Superior To Balloon Angioplasty For Failing Dialysis Grafts
4. MCG to conduct first FDA-approved stem cell trial in pediatric cerebral palsy
5. In Tests, Implanted Monitor Detects Atrial Fibrillation
6. Almac Launches New STEMS System to Transform Temperature Controlled Shipment Monitoring in Clinical Trials
7. Clinical trial underway: Miniature ultrasound device could revolutionize pain relief
8. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $1.1 Million For Clinical Trial of Transdermal Nicotine as Disease-Modifying Treatment For Parkinsons
9. WellPoint/Blue Cross Liver Transplant Denial Trial Starts Monday
10. WellPoint/Blue Cross Liver Transplant Denial Trial Begins Today, Illustrates Need for Toughening of White House Reform Plan
11. Mesothelioma Clinical Trials List Offered by IQ Mesothelioma: Search Current Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Longest Trial Ever Confirms Mammograms'  Benefits
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... Key Housing, a top-rated corporate housing ... December, 2015, featured apartment community: Epic. In showcasing this featured apartment community in San ... Bay Area rental market to efficiently find housing suitable to their needs by showcasing ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back ... to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users have full control over angle of ... Pulse masking effects, users are sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... health care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially with ... rising, and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this equation: ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... The print component of “Supporting Our Caregivers” is distributed ... Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and an estimated ... media strategy and across a network of top news sites and partner media ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, ... interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. ... from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , November 26, 2015 ... 1.82 billion by 2022, according to a new report by ... as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is ... convenient and cost effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> ... 1.82 billion by 2022, according to a new report by ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> ) has announced the ... and Growth Strategies in the German Drugs ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... adds "Global Repaglinide Industry 2015 ... on China Repaglinide Market, 2010-2019" reports ... and information to its online business ... . --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: