News | September 27, 2010

‘Mammography Saves Lives’ Campaign Clears Confusion about Mammograms

September 27, 2010 — Women confused about when to have a mammogram have a new interactive source of information — MammographySavesLives.org. The site launched last week with a series of public service announcements on television and radio stations across the country.

To clear confusion, reduce unnecessary breast cancer deaths and help women avoid extensive treatment for advanced cancers that went undetected because they did not get annual mammograms, the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) have launched the Mammography Saves Lives (MSL) campaign.

The MSL coalition produced a series of TV and radio public service announcements featuring breast cancer survivors, diagnosed in their 40s with the aid of mammography. They urge women to begin getting annual mammograms at age 40 and inform them that:

- Mammography has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate by nearly one-third since 1990;
- Mammography can detect cancer early when it is most treatable and can be treated less invasively, and
- Three-quarters of women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer or other factors that put them at high risk for developing the disease, so screening only high-risk women misses the majority of cancers.

The MSL Website, MammographySavesLives.org, offers visitors an opportunity: to receive an annual reminder email to schedule a mammogram, find scientific information regarding why women should start mammography at age 40, hear from leading breast cancer experts why annual mammograms save lives, share a story of breast cancer survival and find an ACR-accredited mammography facility in their area.

“Mammography has been proven without a doubt to save lives. It is the best tool available to screen for breast cancer. At present, there is nothing to replace it. One in five breast cancers occur in women in their 40s. By not getting a yearly mammogram after age 40, women increase their odds of dying from breast cancer,” said Carol H. Lee, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

“The 10-year risk for breast cancer in a 40-year-old woman is 1 in 69 and only increases with age. In European countries like Denmark and Sweden, where screening programs are more organized, the breast cancer death rate has been cut almost in half over the last 20 years. While we have saved and continue to save a significant number of women through mammography, a great many more breast cancer deaths can be avoided if more women would choose to begin annual mammograms at age 40,” said Phil Evans, M.D., president of the Society of Breast Imaging.

“Mammography helps catch cancer at an earlier stage. This enables physicians to offer women more choices in regards to their treatment, so early detection not only save lives, but it helps preserve quality of life as well. The take-home message for women is clear: start getting annual mammograms at age 40,” said Gail Lebovic, M.D., breast surgeon and president of the American Society of Breast Disease.

For more information: MammographySavesLives.org.

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