Study of Particular Importance to Older Women Shows
Long-Term Mammography Saves Lives
Twenty-nine-year study finds 30 percent fewer women
in screening died of breast cancer
June 28, 2011 - Results from the longest running
breast screening trial show that screening with mammography over a long
period of time reduces the number of deaths from breast cancer. The
results are new evidence of the long-term benefits of regular breast
The study, by researchers at Queen Mary, University
of London, shows that the number of deaths that are prevented goes up
year after year.
Cancer Statistics 2011 shows among men the
reduction in lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers is nearly 80% of
decline; among women, almost 60% of decrease in breast and colorectal -
see chances of seniors getting cancer
"In this study, we've continued to monitor women
for nearly three decades and we've found that the longer we look, the
more lives are saved, said senior author, Professor Stephen Duffy.
"Breast cancer can take many years to develop so to
tell if screening is effective, we need to see how women fair in the
The study included over 130,000 women and was the
first to show that screening, with mammography only, led to fewer deaths
from breast cancer.
It compared a group of women who were invited for
regular mammograms with a group who were not. The women have now been
followed up for 29 years to see how many died of the disease.
The results showed that 30 per cent fewer women in
the screening group died of breast cancer and that this effect persisted
year after year.
The study also showed that one cancer death is
prevented for approximately every 400 to 500 women in the screening
Professor Duffy added: "This suggests that the
long-term benefits of screening, in terms of deaths prevented, are more
than double those often quoted for short-term follow-up.
"Unfortunately, we cannot know for certain who will
and who won't develop breast cancer. But if you take part in screening
and you are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage, the chances
that it will be successfully treated are very good."
Swedish Two-County Trial: Impact of Mammographic
Screening on Breast Cancer Mortality during 3 Decades, Tabαr et al,
Links to more archived stories related to breast cancer