FRIDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- A pair of studies released Friday could shake up the debate on whether or not American women should begin regular mammography screening in their 40s.
One study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington, D.C., found that screening women aged 40 to 49 with mammograms detected smaller breast cancers, with less chance of spread to the lymph nodes, than relying on clinical breast exams alone.
That finding runs counter to controversial recommendations issued late in 2009 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which advised that women at average risk for breast cancer do not have to begin regular mammography screening until age 50. Instead, the federal panel of experts advised that the decision for or against mammography for women in their 40s be individualized after a patient-doctor discussion.
A second study presented at the same meeting on Friday suggests that the USPSTF guidelines would unfavorably impact minority women in their 40s.
Dr. Paul Dale, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and lead author of the study looking at early detection, said his view on the issue is clear: "I think women in their 40s should get mammography."
In their study, Dale and his colleagues looked at the medical records of almost 1,600 women treated at the university medical center for breast cancer over a 10-year time period. The researchers focused on 311 women aged 40 to 49.
Of these, 47 percent were diagnosed via mammography, while 53 percent were diagnosed without mammography (for example, by symptoms of breast cancer).
Those diagnosed by mammogram had smaller tumors -- an average of 2 centimeters in diameter versus 3 centimeters, the team found. They also had less chance of the tumor having already moved into the lymph nodes, where it becom
All rights reserved