Breast Cancer Screenings Can Reduce Death Risks Dramatically

With an estimated 231,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in the United States and about 40,000 deaths, the need to detect this cancer early and begin treatments is high. Women who find their cancer in its earliest stages are likely to discover their treatment options are greater and the chances for success of those treatments much higher.

Researchers are finding that early detection is one of the critical lynchpins in reducing deaths from breast cancer. They have found, in fact, that among women ages 50 to 69 routine mammography screenings can reduce their risks of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent when compared to women who do not undergo screening. Those numbers come from a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Overall, women who are asked to submit to mammography screenings have about a 23 percent reduced risk of dying from breast cancer than others. This slightly lower number is due to the fact that some women asked to go in for screening simply do not.

The most recent study points to the greatest benefits of breast cancer screening for women in the 50 to 69 year age group. There was only limited evidence that favored routine screening of women in their 40s, but there was support for routine screening for women also in the age 70 to 74 group.

The bottom line is that research supports the benefits of early detection of breast cancer to increase survival rates. Women in their 50s to 60s, especially, can benefit from regular screenings that involve mammography. Younger and older women may also find benefits. Regardless, routine self-examinations and regular checkups with healthcare professionals can also give women an edge on detection. Women who are concerned about breast cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers for advice and assistance.

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