Swedish Study Supports Mammography Screening for Women Age 40 to 49

May 1, 1996

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

Areview of major clinical trials strongly supports the value ofmammography screening for women in their 40s. The review showeda 24% decrease in deaths from breast cancer among women who underwentscreening mammograms compared to women who were not screened.

Results of the review were released at an international conferenceunder the auspices of the Swedish Cancer Society and the SwedishNational Board of Health and Welfare in Falun, Sweden.

The findings from Sweden strongly support the recommendation ofmore than 20 US medical and women's organizations for regularmammographic screening of women in the 40- to 49-year-old group.Among those groups are the American College of Radiology, theAmerican Cancer Society, the National Alliance of Breast CancerOrganizations, the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, TheKomen Foundation, the American Medical Association, and the AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Included in the study were seven regional clinical trials fromfive Swedish cities, one in Scotland, and a major clinical trialin New York City.

In the studies, screening was done every 2 years. If such screeningwere done annually, the decrease in deaths would likely be asmuch as 35%, said Dr. Stephen A. Feig, professor of radiologyat Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and a nationallyrecognized expert on screening mammography.

Dr. Feig, who is also a member of the ACR Task Force on BreastCancer, also pointed out that the impressive 22% decrease wasrecorded without the benefit of the more advanced mammographymachines used today. Therefore, he said, "we can really expectto see an even greater impact of screening in the future."