New Study Confirms Importance of Yearly Screening Mammography

Life is busy, and before we know it, we have missed an important health screening. How often do you say to yourself, “I know I’m due, I’ll call and schedule it soon,” and that “soon” becomes an entire year? A lot can happen in a year, including the development of breast cancer. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of yearly screening mammography. It gives your doctors the opportunity to find breast cancer early when it is most curable.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), researchers show the impact annual screening mammography has on saving lives. The authors explain that their prospective study looked at 549, 091 women eligible for screening mammography in nine Swedish counties between 1992 and 2016. The study found women who attended screening mammography at either of their two last invitations before a breast cancer diagnosis had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer mortality compared with those who did not attend screening examinations; the greatest benefit (49% risk reduction) was seen in women who attended both screening appointments.

The findings of this study are consistent with recommendations from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). Yearly mammograms save the most lives. Skipping just one year can decrease a person’s 10-year survival rate by ½.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) jointly published updated breast cancer screening guidelines in June 2021 in the JACR. The guidelines state that all women should have a risk assessment by age 30 – especially minority women. It also emphasizes the importance of screening in overlooked or underserved populations, including transgender individuals and black women. The ACR and SBI continue to recommend annual screening beginning at age 40 for women of average breast cancer risk.

It is easier and more convenient than ever to schedule your yearly mammogram. We are proud to offer several locations close to home, faster exam times, and same-day results from two expert radiologists for screening mammograms. So, do not skip this year’s exam! Schedule today.

KEY POINTS

  • Mammography screening has been proven effective in reducing breast cancer deaths in women 40 years and older, with a mortality reduction of 40% possible with regular screening.
  • Annual mammography screening starting at age 40 provides the greatest breast cancer mortality reduction by enabling diagnosis at smaller sizes and earlier stages, better surgical options, and more effective chemotherapy.
  • Delaying screening until age 45 or 50 results in unnecessary loss of life to breast cancer, adversely affecting minority women in particular.
  • Breast cancer screening in women ages 75 years and older have continued benefits in terms of deaths averted, and life-years gained.
  • Annual screening results in more screening-detected tumors, tumors of smaller sizes, and fewer interval cancers than longer screening intervals.
  • There is risk in not screening; treatment advances are important but cannot overcome the disadvantage of being diagnosed with an advanced-stage tumor.

Full article: Duffy Tabar et al. Radiology 2021

 

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