In a study published in the journal Cancer, Mass General researchers, with colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found that the majority of women who die from breast cancer do not have regular mammograms.
New study supports mammograms before age 50 to reduce breast cancer death
A new study by Mass General researchers supports initiation of breast cancer screening with regular mammograms before the age of 50. The American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection of breast cancer include yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
“Most deaths from breast cancer occur in unscreened women," according to the study's authors including Daniel B. Kopans, MD of the Mass General Department of Radiology and Barbara L. Smith, MD of the Mass General Department of Surgery.
"Furthermore, detecting and treating breast cancer in younger women to prevent death may further increase the disease-free life years saved," they added.
In the study of 7,301 breast cancer patients:
In a recent statement, the American College of Radiology says that the study "confirms the need for greater use of annual mammography in women ages 40-49...it also confirms that, even with new therapeutics and protocols for treating breast cancer, regular mammography screening is still the best way to significantly reduce breast cancer deaths."