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30-11-2010 | Oncology | Article

Annual mammogram from age 40 years reduces mastectomy risk


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MedWire News: An annual mammogram may halve the risk for mastectomy among women aged 40-50 years who develop breast cancer, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) today.

Nicholas Perry, from The London Breast Institute at The Princess Grace Hospital in London, UK, explained that there are currently no national guidelines recommending routine breast screening for women under 50 years of age in the UK.

"The results of this study support the importance of regular screening in the 40 to 50 age group," he said.

Perry and team compared the mastectomy rate following breast cancer in 184 women aged 40-50 years who had undergone mammography in the previous year, with those who had longer intervals between screening, or who had undergone no previous mammography.

Of the women, 136 (74%) had no previous mammograms, while 48 (26%) had undergone a prior mammography: 18 (10%) at or within 1 year; 15 (8%) between 1 and 2 years; and 15 (8%) over 2 years prior to diagnosis.

Of the 18 women who had had a mammogram within 1 year of diagnosis, only four (22%) needed and received a mastectomy, compared with 86 (52%) of the 166 women who had not had a mammogram in the year before diagnosis.

The respective mean tumor sizes for women in the 1-year versus more than 1-year since mammography group were 17.8 and 28.8 mm.

"We were surprised at the degree of benefit obtained from yearly screening in this age group," said Perry.

"Regular screening is already proven to lower the chance of women dying from breast cancer.

"The results of our study support the importance of regular screening in the under-50 age group and confirm that annual mammography improves the chances of breast conservation should breast cancer develop," he concluded.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

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