Areview of major clinical trials strongly supports the value of
mammography screening for women in their 40s. The review showed
a 24% decrease in deaths from breast cancer among women who underwent
screening mammograms compared to women who were not screened.
Results of the review were released at an international conference
under the auspices of the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish
National Board of Health and Welfare in Falun, Sweden.
The findings from Sweden strongly support the recommendation of
more than 20 US medical and women's organizations for regular
mammographic screening of women in the 40- to 49-year-old group.
Among those groups are the American College of Radiology, the
American Cancer Society, the National Alliance of Breast Cancer
Organizations, the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, The
Komen Foundation, the American Medical Association, and the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Included in the study were seven regional clinical trials from
five Swedish cities, one in Scotland, and a major clinical trial
in New York City.
In the studies, screening was done every 2 years. If such screening
were done annually, the decrease in deaths would likely be as
much as 35%, said Dr. Stephen A. Feig, professor of radiology
at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and a nationally
recognized expert on screening mammography.
Dr. Feig, who is also a member of the ACR Task Force on Breast
Cancer, also pointed out that the impressive 22% decrease was
recorded without the benefit of the more advanced mammography
machines used today. Therefore, he said, "we can really expect
to see an even greater impact of screening in the future."