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Issue 137 Autumn 2020

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Mammographic screening from age 40 and breast cancer mortality

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Breast cancer screening programmes in the UK offer mammograms every 3 years to women aged 50–70. However, the cost:benefit ratio

p4-5 mammogram.jpg

regarding the public health benefits versus technical issues associated with screening women from the age of 40 remains under debate.
This randomised, controlled trial conducted by Duffy et al. investigated the effects of earlier mammogram screening for prevention of breast cancer mortality. A total of 160,921 participants were recruited into 23 breast screening units. They were stratified by general practice into yearly mammogram screening up to 48 years of age (intervention), or to standard care of no screening until invitation at ~50 years of age into the national screening programme (control). Participants were followed up for a median of 22.8 years. A significant (~25%) reduction was seen in breast cancer mortality in the first 10 years of follow up in the intervention group. However, there was no significant reduction in the intervention group with follow up after 10 years.

Read the full article in Lancet Oncology 21 1165-1172 




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