Breast Screening Women in Their 40s Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer Mortality

Breast screening women between the ages of 40-49 attenuates the risk of dying from breast cancer, according to the findings of a study published in The Lancet Oncology.

In this randomized, controlled trial of 23 breast screening units across Great Britain, 160,921 women were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=55,883) consisting of yearly mammographic screening from the year of trial inclusion up to and including the year they reached 48 years of age, or a control group (n=106,953), consisting of standard care with no screening until the age of 50.  The primary endpoint was defined by the researchers as mortality from breast cancers diagnosed in the intervention period of the trial.

According to the results, there was a notable decline in breast cancer mortality at 10 years of follow-up. They observed 83 breast cancer deaths in the intervention group compared to 219 in the control group (RR=0·75; 95% CI, 0·58 to 0·97];p=0·029). They observed no significant reduction thereafter, with 126 deaths versus 255 deaths occurring after more than 10 years of follow-up (RR=0·98; 0·79 to 1·22; p=0·86).

The authors concluded, “Our results suggest a reduction in breast cancer mortality with annual mammography in women aged 40–49 years within the first 10 years of follow-up, and no overdiagnosis in addition to that which arises from screening at age 50 years and older. Further evaluation of screening in women younger than 50 years, with modern screening and treatment protocols, is warranted.”