Half a million breast cancer deaths have been avoided

Half a million breast cancer deaths have been avoided

The new study estimates that regular screening plus improved treatments cut the expected rate of breast cancer death in 2018 by between 45 to 58 percent, according to the study published February 11 in the journal Cancer.

In a new prospective trial in younger women (FH02) - led by Professor Gareth Evans at The University of Manchester - 2,899 women aged 35-39 at moderate or high risk of breast cancer due to their family history were offered annual screening across 34 United Kingdom centres between 2006 and 2015.

A new study funded by the charity Breast Cancer Now found cancers were picked up in younger age groups than those covered by current NHS screening, which often starts at age 40 for women known to be at risk.

Researchers tracked 1990-2015 US data on breast cancer deaths, along with general data, on women aged 40 to 84.

Latest U.S. estimates indicate that since 1989, hundreds of thousands of women's lives have been saved by mammography and improvements in breast cancer treatment.

"Early detection remains absolutely critical to stopping women dying from breast cancer". In unscreened women, just 45% (131/293) of breast cancers were detected when the tumour was 2cm or smaller in size and 54% (158/290) of cases had already spread to the lymph nodes.

Researchers said annual screening at age 35 to 39 could benefit between 64,000 and 86,000 women in the UK.

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"Recent reviews of mammography screening have focused media attention on some of the risks of mammography screening, such as call-backs for additional imaging and breast biopsies, downplaying the most important aspect of screening-that finding and treating breast cancer early saves women's lives".

Lead author Professor Evans described the results of the trial as "very promising".

However, only about half of women over 40 get regular mammograms.

Across all ages, breast cancer is the UK's most common cancer, with around 55,000 women and 350 men diagnosed each year in the UK. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings point to progress made in early detection and management of breast cancer. The NHS offers all women aged 50 to 70 breast x-ray screening every three years....

He said more research is now needed to determine the impact of this screening on women's overall survival.

"Screening plays a large role in early detection of breast cancer", Schnabel said, "to allow the patients who are diagnosed early to have better and more favorable treatment methods".

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