SAN ANTONIO--Screening mam-mography significantly improves breast
cancer survival in women ages 40 to 49, compared with other methods
of cancer detection, a Minnesota study suggests.
Women whose cancers were detected by mammograms had a 94% five-year
survival, compared with 84% for breast self-examination (BSE),
79% for patient incidental discovery, and 75% for clinical breast
Detection by clinical exam or incidental discovery doubled the
odds for death within 5 years of discovery, Charles L. Murray,
MD, reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The study
was performed by Carol McPherson and colleagues at Methodist Hospital,
The study involved 969 breast cancer patients who were between
the ages of 40 and 49 at the time of diagnosis. The patients were
identified through an upper midwestern tumor registry and came
from 23 hospitals located in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South
Only invasive cancers were included in the analysis. Patients
were followed up to 8 years after treatment, with a mean follow-up
of almost 3 years.
The largest number of patients (363) detected their breast cancers
incidentally. Almost a third of the cancers were detected by screening
mammog-raphy. The fewest were identified via clinical examination.
Breast cancers detected by mammog-raphy were significantly smaller,
averaging 1.85 cm, compared with 2.32 cm for clinical exam, 2.79
cm for BSE, and 2.91 for incidental discovery. With mammog-raphy,
the likelihood of detecting cancers while still localized was
significantly greater, 75.8% versus 52% to 56% for the other detection
modalities, said Dr. Murray, a medical oncologist at Park Nicollet
Cancer Center, HealthSystem Minnesota, St. Louis Park.