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Starting breast cancer screening as early as age 25 may help women who carry a genetic mutation linked to a higher risk of cancer live longer, according to a U.S. study.

Mass General research addresses early breast screening for gene-mutation carriers

06/Oct/2011

Researchers, whose findings were reported in the journal Cancer, looked at which breast cancer screenings—mammogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—were effective in women who carry the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They looked at women aged 25, 30, 35 and 40 years old. Compared to no screening at all, annual screening starting at age 25 extended life by 1.3 to 1.8 years. Screening with a breast MRI every six months extended life by 1.5 to 1.7 years.

"Results indicate that breast cancer deaths will decrease because of screening," said study co-author Janie Lee, who specializes in breast imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, by email.

Source: Reuters

Journal Article: Cancer

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