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Mortality Estimates Favor Annual Mammography From Age 40

MONDAY, Aug. 21, 2017 -- An annual screening mammogram starting at age 40 is the optimal strategy to avert an early breast cancer death, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in Cancer.

R. Edward Hendrick, Ph.D., a radiology professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, and colleagues used computer modeling to assess the three major mammogram recommendations: annual screening from age 40 to 84; annual screening at ages 45 to 54, then every other year from 55 to 79; or every other year from 50 to 74. The authors estimated how many lives would be saved if every U.S. woman born in 1960 followed one of the three recommendations each year.

The researchers found that deaths from breast cancer would decrease by an average of 39.6 percent with annual screenings from 40 to 84. By comparison, breast cancer mortality would decline 30.8 percent with screening until age 79, and 23.2 percent with every-other-year mammography from 50 to 74. The number of lives saved from breast cancer would be 29,369 with annual screening from age 40 to 84; and 22,829 and 17,153, respectively, for the other two recommendations.

"If a woman wants to maximize her chances of averting an untimely breast cancer death," Hendrick told HealthDay, "she should start screening at age 40 and continue screening annually until her life expectancy is less than five to seven years."

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Posted: August 2017