Breast cancer screening curbs death risk by 40 percent

London, June 8 (IANS) For women aged 50-69, mammography screenings reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to those who are not screened, says a study.

“This important analysis will hopefully reassure women around the world that breast screening with mammography saves lives,” said professor Stephen Duffy of Queen Mary University of London.

“The evidence proves breast screening is a vital tool in increasing early diagnosis of breast cancer and therefore reducing the number of deaths,” Duffy said.

Duffy and experts from 16 countries assessed the positive and negative impact of different breast cancer screening methods, based on a comprehensive analysis of evidence from 11 randomised controlled trials and 40 high-quality observational studies.

“Despite evidence that mammography screening is effective, we still need to carry out further research on alternative screening methods, such as the promising ‘digital breast tomosynthesis’; a newly developed form of 3D imaging which could potentially improve the accuracy of mammography in coping with more dense breast tissue,” Duffy added.

The latest findings that looked at breast cancer screening on a global level were coordinated by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organisation’s specialised cancer agency, and will contribute to an update of the IARC Handbook on breast cancer screening, last published in 2002.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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