Mammography Can Save Women’s Lives: Study

Mammography Can Save Women’s Lives: Study

About 12% of the women in US will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lives, according to breast cancer organization. A total of more than 0.2 million new cases are expected to be diagnosed in women in the year 2020. The risk is very lower in case of men I.e. 2,620 new cases are expected. More than 40,000 women may die of breast cancer in the ongoing year. Although the overall rate has been dropping in the recent years, not significantly. Currently, there are more than 3.5 million women with breast cancer history. According to an estimate, 30% of cancer cases will be breast cancer in American women in the ongoing year. The risk of getting breast cancer is increased if a first degree relative is also diagnosed with the cancer. Less than 15% of the total cases are such that a previous family member has already been diagnosed.


Mammography is the process of using low energy X-rays for examining the human breast in order to detect breast cancer at early stages mostly through detection of characteristic masses or microcalcifications.

A recent study, published on 11 May, concluded that women can cut their odds of advanced and sometimes fatal breast cancer, if they get their mammograms regularly. The study involved tracking data from nearly half million women in Sweden. Researchers compared the results of advanced and fatal breast cancers within 10 years after the diagnosis of cancer. It was concluded that the women who got their mammograms had a 25% lower rate of advanced cancer and 41% lower rate of fatal breast cancer.

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“This study shows that participation in breast cancer screening substantially reduces the risk of having a fatal breast cancer,” study co-author Stephen Duffy, of Queen Mary University of London, said in a journal news release. Duffy further added, “Because the comparison of participating with non-participating persons was contemporaneous–with mammography screening and breast cancer treatment belonging to the same time period – it is not affected by potential changes in the treatment of breast cancer over time.”

Other recent studies had suggested that the early detection of the virus is less important but this study proved the opposite involving a very huge number of people tested and thus, can’t be denied. The message of the study is clear that every woman must go for mammography for early diagnosis of the breast cancer in order to avoid advanced cancer or fatality.

The regional director of breast surgery at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., Dr. Alice Police, remarked ,” Screening catches cancers earlier and decreases the incidences of advanced cancers and deaths — get your mammogram” Police believes that the new study clearly proves the importance of early detection of the cancer and thus, annual mammographic screening should be started at the age of 40.

When to Go for Mammography

Over the years, various studies have been conducted for the analysis of breast cancer and finding factors or tests aiming reduction in the number of fatalities and advanced cases.

Canadian National Breast Screening Study published earlier this year showed no benefit of mammography but the study seems to lack detail as other studies prove the opposite. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended annual screening at age 40, upon basis of average calculation. The study announced “a number of concerns” with the Canadian study.

Supporting the ACOG, upon their own study, the American Cancer Society also recommended annual screening for women aged 40 and older. They recommended mammography and CBE for women for as long as they remain healthy.

American College of Radiology declared the Canadian study “flawed and misleading”. Its guidelines also called for annual mammography starting at the age of 40. US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended annual mammography and CBE at the age of 50 for women at average risk of breast cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society reaffirmed its recommendations. It also called for screening beginning at the age of 50 but after ever 2 to 3 years interval. Thus, the Canadian study doesn’t stand credible.  Simply, it can be concluded that women with average risk must begin going for annual screening when they turn 40.

The chief of breast imaging at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Dr. Kristine Byrne reaffirmed the importance of the latest study. “This is why it is so important for women 40 and over to have yearly screening mammograms as long as they are in good health,” Byrne stressed. “Women at high risk may need to start [even] younger and should discuss it with their doctors.”

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