There has been much talk recently about how mammograms are a waste of time and money for women under fifty years of age.  Too many false positives.  Breast tissue is in younger women is too dense.  Statistics don’t support early screening.

This view was reinforced at this summer’s American Association of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meetings in Chicago.  I was there.  I read the data.

So what’s this all about? 

Annual Mammograms More Than Halve Mastectomy Risk in Women 40-50
Elsevier Global Medical News. 2010 Dec 2, S Birk

CHICAGO (EGMN) – Annual mammograms dramatically reduced the risk of mastectomy in women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between the ages of 40 and 50 years, according to a retrospective study of 459 patients.

Women who underwent mammography a year or less prior to a breast cancer diagnosis had a mastectomy rate less than half that of women whose last previous mammogram was more than a year prior to diagnosis and women who had never had a mammogram (22%, 47%, and 52%, respectively), reported Dr. Nicholas Perry, director of the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital.

The relative risk of mastectomy rose significantly with length of time since the previous mammogram, Dr. Perry said at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Bottom line:  Dr. Perry’s data strongly contradicts prior evidence against early breast cancer screening:

The findings deliver “strong clinical evidence to support annual screening for women from age 40,” Dr. Perry said. The current breast cancer screening guidelines of the American Cancer Society recommend annual mammograms for all women starting at age 40.

Get all of the details by going to:  OncologySAT Article Supports Annual Breast Cancer Screening For Women Starting At Age Forty.
This could be good news!  We all desperately want to believe early detection can save us.  Hopefully more studies like this will prove it to be true.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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