Study reignites controversy on breast cancer screening

11:41, September 30, 2010      

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A new study on mammograms finds breast cancer screening can lower the risk of dying from the disease for women in their 40s.

This once again provokes controversy over who should receive mammograms and when.

The study, conducted in Sweden and published online Wednesday, found that starting women on mammography at age 40 instead of age 50 was associated with a 26 percent reduction in risk of death from breast cancer.

That means screening 1,250 women five times over a 10-year period would save one life, study author Hakan Jonsson said during a teleconference.


However, the new findings are unlikely to do much to quell a controversy that has long existed over the value of mammography screenings for women in their 40s.

A year ago, an influential panel of U.S. science advisers recommended against routine screening before age 50. The scientists said the benefits were so small and potential problems from screening so great that the decision should be left to each woman and her doctor.

And just a week ago, another study in Norway found that screening mammography contributed only a 10 percent reduction in mortality, which is less than has been believed.

Dr. Jennifer Obel, chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's communications committee, said "The real message is that any time we order a diagnostic test, we need to discuss that test with our patients. It remains the best method we have available to detect breast cancer early in the general population."

Source: Xinhua/Agencies

(Editor:王寒露)

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