News | June 05, 2015

Attending Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Death Risk by 40 Percent

U.K. study suggests an extra eight deaths per 1,000 could be prevented

breast cancer screening, death risk, 40 percent, Queen Mary University of London

June 5, 2015 - Women aged 50-69 years who attend mammography screening reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to women who are not screened, according to a major international review. The review covered the latest evidence on breast cancer screening.

Overall, women who are invited to attend mammography screening have a 23 percent risk reduction in breast cancer death (owing to some attending and some not), compared with women not invited by routine screening programmes.

In the U.K., this relative risk translates to around eight deaths prevented per 1,000 women regularly attending screening, and five deaths prevented per 1,000 women invited to screening.

Stephen Duffy, professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary University of London, and experts from 16 countries assessed the positive and negative impact of different breast cancer screening methods based on a comprehensive analysis of evidence from 11 randomized controlled trials and 40 high-quality observational studies.

The latest findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were coordinated by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization's specialized cancer agency; the data will contribute to an update of the IARC Handbook on breast cancer screening, last published in 2002.

The findings look at breast cancer screening on a global level and therefore take into account routine screening programs (where all women of a certain age are invited to attend) and opportunistic screening services (which operate in countries without a set program).

Commenting on the findings, Duffy said: "This important analysis will hopefully reassure women around the world that breast screening with mammography saves lives. The evidence proves breast screening is a vital tool in increasing early diagnosis of breast cancer and therefore reducing the number of deaths.

"In the U.K. we are extremely fortunate to have the NHS Breast Screening Program where all women aged 50-70 years are invited to attend. Women invited to this service can be reassured the program is endorsed by internationally respected organizations and experts."

The report confirms previous findings that women aged 50-69 years benefit most from breast cancer screening. However, several studies also showed a substantial reduction in risk of death from breast cancer by inviting women aged 70-74 years for screening - a shift away from previous consensus. Only limited evidence was identified in favor of screening women in their 40s.

Duffy continued: "Despite evidence that mammography screening is effective, we still need to carry out further research on alternative screening methods, such as the promising 'digital breast tomosynthesis'; a newly developed form of 3-D imaging which could potentially improve the accuracy of mammography in coping with more dense breast tissue.

"It is also vital we continue researching the most effective ways of screening women at high risk of breast cancer due to family history or genetic status. We need further evidence to fine-tune services offered to high risk women in terms of different screening methods, from an earlier age and possibly at shorter intervals."

The purpose of breast screening is to diagnose women with breast cancer earlier,  therefore improving prognosis and reducing the number of late-stage cases and deaths. However, concerns have been raised over the negative impact of mammography screening - notably, false-positive results, overdiagnosis and possibly radiation-induced cancer. This new review builds upon previous evidence which suggests the potential benefits of breast screening outweigh the risks.

For more information: www.qmul.ac.uk

Related Content

Comparison of Screening Recommendations Supports Annual Mammography
News | Mammography | August 22, 2017
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue...
Clinical Data Supports Use of Xoft System for Endometrial Cancer
News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 03, 2017
Researchers presented clinical data supporting use of the Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx) System for the...
The ASPIRE Cristalle FFDM system with DBT combines Fujifilm’s state-of-the-art hexagonal close pattern (HCP) detector design, advanced image processing and image acquisition workflow
News | Women's Health | August 01, 2017
Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A., Inc. announced that The Mammography Center of Monterey, an ACR-accredited breast...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Breast Imaging | July 28, 2017
Nancy Cappello, Ph.D., executive director and founder of Are You Dense Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, explains how
Radiotherapy Prior to Surgery Reduces Secondary Tumor Risk in Early-Stage Breast Cancer Patients
News | Radiation Therapy | July 24, 2017
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers launched a first-of-its-kind study comparing the long-term benefits of radiation...
X-ray performed on a GE Optima 646 DR system. The FDA has updated its radiology reporting forms on its website.
News | Business | July 24, 2017
July 24, 2017 — The U.S.
Kubtec Launches New Website For Digital Imaging and Irradiation Products
News | Digital Radiography (DR) | July 20, 2017
Kubtec announced the launch a new website focused on the applications of digital X-ray imaging and irradiation for...
Volpara Solutions to Showcase Volpara Enterprise DDP Software at AHRA 2017
News | Mammography | July 11, 2017
Volpara Solutions Inc. will showcase its new Volpara Enterprise DDP software at the Association for Medical Imaging...
Fujifilm Showcases Digital Radiography, Mammography Innovations at AHRA 2017
News | Digital Radiography (DR) | July 06, 2017
Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. will present its comprehensive portfolio of digital radiography (DR) and...
Feature | Breast Density | July 05, 2017 | By Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D.
Two decades of research on the masking risk of dense breast tissue by mammography screening is indisputable. As the...
Overlay Init