Research Shows Over 70% Reduction in Breast Cancer Mortality Risk with Regular Mammography Screening

In a comprehensive review spanning 24 years and encompassing over 36,000 cases of breast cancer, researchers have underscored the significant reduction in breast cancer mortality associated with regular mammography screenings.

Presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference in Chicago, the study focused on 36,079 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Sweden between 1992 and 2016, with 4,564 of them succumbing to the disease.

The findings revealed that women who engaged in the five most recent mammography screenings before a breast cancer diagnosis exhibited survival rates ranging from 82.7 to 86.9 percent. In stark contrast, those who did not undergo any of these screenings prior to diagnosis displayed a lower survival rate, ranging from 59.1 to 77.6 percent, according to the study authors.

The research emphasized the critical impact of adhering to a regimen of five mammography screenings before diagnosis, highlighting a 72 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer mortality compared to women who had not undergone any examinations.

Robert A. Smith, Ph.D., study co-author and Senior Vice President and Director of the American Cancer Society for Cancer Screening in Atlanta, emphasized, “Women who attended all five previous mammography examinations prior to a diagnosis of breast cancer were nearly three times less likely to die from breast cancer compared with women who had not attended any examinations. Each additional examination attended among the five previous examinations conferred an additive protective effect against dying from breast cancer.”

Despite 73 to 96 percent of the participants having undergone at least one of the five scheduled mammography exams before diagnosis, the researchers highlighted the prevalent irregularity in mammography screening. Only 58 to 73 percent of women in the study participated in all five scheduled mammography exams before diagnosis, a trend underscored by Smith and colleagues.

Dr. Smith stressed the importance of timely mammograms, stating, “If a woman unknowingly has breast cancer and misses or postpones her mammogram during this time when she has no symptoms, but her breast cancer is growing and perhaps spreading, then the window for early detection will be lost.”

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