Research Supports Annual Mammogram for Some

For women under 50 with medium familial risk, surveillance found to decrease mortality

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- For women younger than 50 who are at medium familial risk of breast cancer, yearly mammographic surveillance could increase cancer detection, allow disease to be detected at an earlier stage, and decrease predicted mortality, according to research published online Nov. 18 in The Lancet Oncology.

Stephen W. Duffy, of the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues on the Family History 01 collaborative teams conducted a study of 6,710 women with intermediate familial risk of breast cancer getting yearly mammographic screening compared to two external comparison groups from other cohort studies who were not receiving yearly screening: one of average breast cancer risk (U.K. Age Trial), the other with familial increased risk (Dutch study). The researchers aimed to determine whether screening affects the disease stage at diagnosis and the projected mortality of women younger than 50 years who have a clinically significant family history of breast cancer.

In the yearly mammography group, the researchers found that invasive tumors were significantly smaller, less likely to be node positive, and of more favorable grade than those in the U.K. Age Trial comparison group. The tumors were significantly less likely to be node positive than those in the Dutch study. After adjusting for underlying risk, the researchers found that the predicted 10-year mortality rate was significantly lower in the yearly mammography group (1.10 percent) than the U.K. Age Trial group (1.38 percent).

"Our data suggest that, in women younger than 50 years who are at medium or greater familial risk of breast cancer, mammographic surveillance could increase cancer detection, reduce the risk of advanced stage disease, and decrease predicted mortality," the authors write.

One author is a clinical consultant for Diagenic.

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