Age 50 as mammography screening threshold proven unfounded

September 30, 2010

The landmark breast cancer screening study of women 40-49, published online in Cancer, has proven that annual mammography screening of women in their 40s reduces the breast cancer death rate in these women by nearly 30 percent. The results of this largest study ever conducted on women in this age group confirm that the use of the age of 50 as a threshold for breast cancer screening is scientifically unfounded. Women should begin getting annual mammograms at age 40.

"This study, which looked at the performance of screening mammography as it is actually used, rather than relying on mathematical modeling, shows without a doubt that mammography decreases deaths from breast cancer in women aged 40-49 by nearly one third. There is no excuse not to recommend that average risk women begin annual screening mammography at age 40," said Carol H. Lee, MD, Chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

In Nov. of 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) ignored published data showing a similar death rate reduction to this landmark trial, and withdrew support for screening women 40-49. This real world study is far more robust, based on real world numbers, and proves that the benefit is nearly twice that of the USPSTF estimate of 15 percent.

"This study shows that annual mammograms for women 40 and over result in a tremendously significant reduction in the breast cancer death rate for women 40-49. The age of 50 is an artificial threshold that has no basis in scientific fact. The debate is now over. Women should no longer be confused about the importance of annual breast cancer screening. Mammography saves lives. If you are a woman age 40 or over, one of them could be yours," said Phil Evans, MD, President of the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI).

The Swedish trial followed more than 600,000 women for 16 years. The number of breast cancer deaths among the women in the study who did not receive mammograms was twice as high as those who underwent screening. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. It kills around 465,000 people globally each year. Mammography can catch cancer early, when it is most treatable. While not a perfect test, at present, there is no other screening tool to replace it.

"It is now time to stop confusing women with conflicting information. Mammography is a lifesaver for women in their 40s. What providers need to do now is uniformly confirm for women that they need to start getting annual mammograms beginning at age 40 and work to build on the ability of mammography to detect cancer early, when it is most treatable. Mammography saves a significant number of lives in all women 40 and over. Let's all move forward from there," said Gail Lebovic, MD, breast surgeon and President of the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD).
-end-
Please visit www.MammographySavesLives.org for more information regarding why women should begin getting annual mammograms at age 40 and to sign up to receive an annual email reminder to get a mammogram.

For more information or to arrange an interview with an ACR spokesperson, contact Shawn Farley at 703-648-8936 or sfarley@acr-arrs.org.

American College of Radiology

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.