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Yearly mammograms from age 40 save 71% more lives, study shows

Posted Date: January 31, 2011

A new study questions the controversial U.S. Preventative Service Task Force recommendations for breast cancer screening, with data that shows starting at a younger age and screening more frequently will result in more lives saved.

A new study questions the controversial U.S. Preventative Service Task Force recommendations for breast cancer screening, with data that shows starting at a younger age and screening more frequently will result in more lives saved. The study analyzed the same data looked at by the task force, which issued its guidelines on mammography screening in November 2009.

The study was conducted by R. Edward Hendrick, Ph.D., clinical professor of radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Mark Helvie, M.D., director of breast imaging at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study analyzed the same data looked at by the task force, which issued its guidelines on mammography screening in November 2009. The study authors compared the task force’s recommendations for screening every other year in women 50-74 to American Cancer Society guidelines of screening every year in women 40-84.

The present study supports screening mammography for women beginning at age 40. “The task force overemphasized potential harms of screening mammography, while ignoring the proven statistically significant benefit of annual screening mammography starting at age 40,” Hendrick says. “In addition, the panel ignored more recent data from screening programs in Sweden and Canada showing that 40 percent of breast cancer deaths are averted in women who get regular screening mammography.

Read more on the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center website

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