A new study by Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Wash., reports that breast cancers detected by mammography have a better prognosis for women ages 40 to 49 than those detected by other means.
According to HealthImaging.com, the study reviewed breast cancer patient data from the Swedish Cancer Institute’s community cancer center registry on 1,977 breast cancer patients between the ages of 40 and 49, who were treated between 1990 and 2008.
The research also included reviewing methods of diagnosis–mammography, patient or physician–stage of cancer at diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and recurrence of the cancer.
“Stage is a critical factor in the decision-making process as to whether or not to administer chemotherapy, and patients with [mammography-detected] breast cancer have more favorable prognostic factors, such as estrogen receptor positivity and proportionally lower-stage disease, resulting in the receipt of significantly less surgical and chemotherapy treatment,” reported HealthImaging.com.
Over the 18-year study period, mammography detected 28% of cancer in 1990, compared to a 58% detection rate in 2008, believed to be due to increased screening. The percentage of early stage tumors caught by mammograms also increased during the study period.
TimeHealthland.com reported that study researcher Judith Malmgren said the study was an “observational analysis, and cannot be used to recommend routine mammograms starting at age 40. But the findings justify that the definition of ‘benefits’ should be broadened when balancing the pros and cons of regular breast-cancer screening in women aged 40 and 49.”