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Breast Cancer Screening 'Leads To Reduction In Deaths'

Screening Between 50 And 69 Leads To 40% Reduction In Breast Cancer Deaths


An international review into screening and treatment for breast cancer has revealed a 40 per cent reduction in women dying of the disease if screening occurs between the ages of 50 and 69.

More than 50 trials and studies were examined by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency and researchers found that despite technological advances, improved breast cancer treatments and worries over potential risks, screening still saves lives.

Report author Prof Stephen Duffy, of Queen Mary University of London, 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."

The report also acknowledged there are some pitfalls within the screening procedure, such as the detection of slow-growing cancer that would not cause harm, which can lead to over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment.

Expert Opinion
There has been a great deal of debate around breast cancer screening recently, with over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment being highlighted as serious concerns with the process.

“While this is still a problem, this latest research indicates breast cancer screening is still saving the lives of many women suffering from the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment plays a critical role in the chances of survival and recovery and screening plays a vital role in this.

“However, it is crucial that unnecessary treatments and over-diagnosis is reduced. The first priority should always be the patient and providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision about their treatment options.

“Through our work we have seen the devastating impact the misdiagnosis of breast cancer in terms of a delay in diagnosis and misreporting can have on patients, both physically and psychologically and it is important women are reassured that they will receive the highest standards of cancer screening and treatment.
Julianne Moore, Partner

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