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Annual Breast Cancer Screening From Age 40 Shows Highest Mortality Reduction, Study Suggests

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Ayanna Amadi
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Annual Breast Cancer Screening From Age 40 Shows Highest Mortality Reduction, Study Suggests

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A Revolutionary Study in Breast Cancer Screening

A new study published in Radiology, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America, has revealed critical insights into breast cancer screening. The findings suggest that annual breast cancer screening beginning at age 40 and continuing to at least age 79 results in the highest reduction in mortality with minimal risks. The study compared the benefits of screening at various frequencies and starting ages, demonstrating that annual screening of women aged 40-79 showed a mortality reduction of 41.7%.

Comparing Different Screening Scenarios

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The research team analyzed the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) 2023 median estimates of breast cancer screening outcomes and compared screening benefits in different scenarios. Among the scenarios compared were annual screening at ages 40-79, biennial screening at ages 50-74, biennial screening at ages 40-74, and annual screening at ages 40-74. The results unequivocally showed that annual screening at ages 40-79 demonstrated the highest breast cancer mortality reduction, breast cancer deaths averted, and life-years gained, particularly for Black women.

Advocating for Change in Screening Recommendations

The study indicated that a shift from the current USPSTF draft recommendation of biennial screening from ages 40-74 to annual screening up to age 79 would markedly improve mortality reduction for all U.S. women. The lead researcher, Dr. Debra L. Monticciolo, emphasized the importance of early detection and the value of women's lives, advocating for annual screening from age 40. This study aims to contribute to the increasing body of literature that supports annual screening as the most effective way to diagnose cancer early.

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Minimal Risks Associated with Annual Screening

The study revealed that the risks associated with annual breast cancer screening are minimal. The chance of a woman having a benign biopsy following annual screening is less than 1%, and all recall rates for screening mammography are under 10%. Annual screening from age 40-79 showed the lowest per mammogram false-positive screens and benign biopsies compared to other screening scenarios. This suggests a tremendous increase in mortality benefit by screening annually between the ages of 40-79, with low chances of experiencing harm on a per-exam basis.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this study provides compelling evidence in favor of annual breast cancer screening starting at age 40 and continuing to at least age 79. Such a screening routine leads to the highest reduction in mortality, with minimal associated risks. This powerful finding underscores the importance of early and regular screening in combating breast cancer, potentially influencing future screening recommendations for better outcomes.

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