Further Proof That Consistent Mammogram Screenings Are Lifesavers
A recent study has shown that regular mammogram screenings significantly lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. This preliminary research offers compelling evidence about the lifesaving importance of consistent breast cancer screenings.
The study, conducted by a team led by Robert Smith, senior vice president and director of the American Cancer Society Center for Cancer Screening in Atlanta, analyzed data from over 36,000 breast cancer patients in Sweden spanning from 1992 to 2016. The results are a stark reminder of the critical role regular screenings play in early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer.
One of the most striking findings is the survival rate difference between women who undergo regular mammograms and those who don’t. Women with breast cancer who adhered to their scheduled mammogram screenings had an 80% survival rate. In contrast, those who skipped these essential screenings had survival rates as low as 59%. This significant discrepancy underscores the effectiveness of mammograms in detecting breast cancer at a stage when it is most treatable.
The purpose of mammography, as Smith explained, is to detect breast cancer in the window of time when it is visible on a mammogram but before it shows any symptoms. This early detection is crucial; if a woman misses or postpones her mammogram during this symptom-free period, the opportunity for early intervention may be lost, potentially leading to more advanced and less treatable stages of the disease.
Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should get an annual mammograms
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women between the ages of 45 and 54 get annual mammograms, while those 55 or older can opt for biennial screenings. The study’s data further validates these guidelines. Women who attended all five recommended mammograms before a cancer diagnosis saw a 72% reduction in their risk of dying from breast cancer. Even after adjusting for other factors, the benefit remained substantial, with a 66% reduction in breast cancer death risk.
Furthermore, the research highlighted that each additional mammogram attended in the five-screening cycle provided an additive protective effect against breast cancer death. Women who attended all five screenings were almost three times less likely to die from the disease compared to those who did not attend any.
Acknowledging the challenges of life that can interfere with regular screenings, the researchers emphasized the importance of prioritizing mammography appointments. They urged imaging centers to facilitate early screenings and to promptly reschedule any missed appointments.
These findings offer powerful evidence of the life-saving impact of regular mammography screenings. Adherence to regular mammography is the best insurance a woman has against being diagnosed with advanced, potentially life-threatening breast cancer.
Radiological Society of North America, news release, Nov. 30, 2023