African-American Women At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer Mortality

Breast cancer screening should begin at 35, after trial shows it could save lives

Breast Cancer Now's chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: "This could be an enormous breakthrough".

However, further analysis is needed to estimate the costs, risks and the benefits of pre-screening for breast cancer.

Some good news about the fight against breast cancer.

Lives are likely to be saved by spotting these cancers earlier and the extra screening would not create a significant risk of healthy women getting needless treatment, researchers said.

In total, around 55,000 women and 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United Kingdom and it is estimated that around 5-15% of cases are linked to a family history of the disease.

Schnabel says women should know their breast cancer risk.

"Recent reviews of mammography screening have focused media attention on some of the risks of mammography screening, such as call-backs for additional imaging and breast biopsies, downplaying the most important aspect of screening-that finding and treating breast cancer early saves women's lives".

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The trial drew comparisons with a group of women aged 35 to 39 who were at increased risk but did not undergo screening. In unscreened women, just 45% (131/293) of breast cancers were detected when the tumour was 2cm or smaller in size and 54% (158/290) of cases had already spread to the lymph nodes.

"While this trial is really encouraging, these are the first results to show that screening would be effective for this age group - and it may still be some time before this option could be extended to women aged 35-39".

The report's lead author Professor Gareth Evans said the results of the new trial are "very promising".

Baroness Morgan said: "Early detection remains absolutely critical to stopping women dying from breast cancer". During the match-up, each player's name on their jersey will be replaced with the name of someone who has battled breast cancer.

With several risk prediction models in development, it is also hoped that the inclusion of information about small genetic changes that increase breast cancer risk (known as SNPs) and women's breast density could in future help give an even more accurate estimation of breast cancer risk - and could help adapt the NHS Breast Screening Programme to offer more targeted, "risk-stratified" screening. "While we anticipate new scientific advances that will further reduce breast cancer deaths and morbidity, it is important that women continue to comply with existing screening and treatment recommendations", he said.

An NHS England spokeswoman said an upcoming review by Professor Mike Richards will consider changes to the screening programme.

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