Study Finds Mammography Cuts Breast Cancer Deaths

Being invited to and attending mammography screening cuts breast cancer mortality risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer detection through mammography screening is effective in reducing breast cancer mortality, according to a case-control study published online Dec. 6 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Suzie J. Otto, Ph.D., from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of mammography screening in reducing breast cancer mortality among women, who received at least one invitation to mammography screening, through the Dutch population-based screening program. In a case-control study, 755 women who died from breast cancer between 1995 and 2003 were matched with 3,739 controls based on year of birth, year of first invitation, and number of invitations before breast cancer diagnosis. The odds ratios (OR), calculated for the correlation between attending any of three screening examinations prior to diagnosis and breast cancer-related mortality risk, were corrected for self-selection bias.

The investigators found that of the women who died of breast cancer, 35.9 percent were never screened, while 29.8 and 34.3 percent were screen-detected and interval-detected, respectively. Stage IV tumor was detected among approximately 29.5 of the never-screened cases, 15.1 percent of screen-detected cases, and 5.3 of interval-detected cases. There was a significantly reduced risk of death for women who attended a screening examination (OR for ages 49 to 75 years, 0.51; for ages 50 to 69 years, 0.61; for ages 50 to 75 years, 0.52; and for ages 70 to 75 years, 0.16).

"The study provides evidence for a beneficial effect of early detection by mammography screening in reducing the risk of breast cancer death among women invited to and who attended the screening," the authors write.

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