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Mammography has led to fewer late-stage breast cancers, U-M study finds
Date:6/10/2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. In the last 30 years, since mammography was introduced, late-stage breast cancer incidence has decreased by 37 percent, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds.

The analysis takes into account an observed underlying trend of increased breast cancer incidence present since the 1940s, a sort of inflation rate for breast cancer.

Researchers looked at early-stage and late-stage breast cancer diagnoses between 1977-1979, before mammography became popular, and compared it to diagnoses between 2007-2009. Based on trends observed in the pre-mammography period of the 1940s to the 1970s as well as continued trends over time, the researchers took into account a central estimated increase in breast cancer incidence of 1.3 percent per year. This is called an annual percentage change, or APC.

Think of the APC like the inflation rate: $1 from 1977 does not go as far in 2007. Just as the cost of money rises, the number of breast cancer diagnoses is increasing, independently of efforts to detect it earlier.

In the current paper, published in Cancer, the researchers looked at the late 1970s data and projected incidence of early-stage and late-stage breast cancer in 2007-2009 based on the APC. They then compared the projected rates to actual rates.

Late-stage breast cancer incidence decreased 37 percent from the projected rate, and early-stage breast cancer incidence correspondingly increased 48 percent from 1977-1979 to 2007-2009. They also conducted similar analyses with other APC values, ranging from 0.5 percent to 2 percent. All estimates showed a substantial decrease in late-stage disease.

"When you factor in this temporal trend, our analysis shows that there has been a shift from late-stage to early-stage breast cancer over the last 30 years. This is what you would expect with a successful screening program. Not only are we detecting more early-stage canc
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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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