Screening women aged 40-49 reduces breast cancer mortality

James Marshall
August 14, 2020

Some health experts say women at risk of breast cancer must submit themselves to mammogram screening as soon as they reach 50 years old, while others say it must be earlier than that, an article at US News & World Report stated.

On Thursday's Good Morning Britain, Dr Sarah said she was recently given the all-clear but the experience was scary.

"I got my dentist check done, I got my auto MOT, I had my cervical screening, I had my breast screening, job done".

"I didn't expect, because you don't, to get the letter back and it was really scary".

I'd had an incredible follow up and had they had given me the all-clear. For every woman who visits the health care facility, please ask the following: Do you perform breast self- examinations regularly?

"Go onto the NHS website and find out or get in touch with your GP".

According to the National Department of Health's Breast Cancer Control Policy, women are entitled to an annual clinical breast examination when visiting primary health care centres, and to three free pap smears per lifetime, starting at the age of 30 years, with a 10 year interval between each smear.

Breast cancer screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to spot cancers that are too small to see or feel.

One in eight women in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, with 55,000 new cases each year.

"Let's adopt lifestyle behaviours that can help lower risk for breast and cervical cancers by being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, eating balanced meals, avoiding sexually activity at an early age and engaging in sexual activities with different partners or risky sexual behaviour, which increases the chances of getting HPV".

This is because screening can often lead to detection of harmless cancers that can cause unnecessary distress and expose patients to the potential side-effects of treatment.

"We know that we're living in unprecedented times with Covid-19 taking centre stage in our lives, however the cancer risk does not go away due to the pandemic, and women still need to go for regular cancer screening as early detection saves lives".

In a new analysis, published in The Lancet Oncology which presents the 23-year follow-up results of the trial, it was found that screening women aged 40-49 led to a substantial and significant 25 per cent reduction in breast cancer mortality in the first ten years.

She pointed out that some women, especially older women or those with underlying conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes may be reluctant to get screening as they're more at risk due to Covid-19.

She said: "By extending it earlier to the age of 40 rather than 50 or 47 as in some parts of England, we could save another 400 women a year".

Lead researcher Professor Stephen Duffy from Queen Mary University of London said: "This is a very long term follow-up of a study which confirms that screening in women under 50 can save lives".

From 1990-97, 160,000 Brits aged 39 to 41 were allocated to annual scans or made to wait for usual checks at 50. The benefit is seen mostly in the first ten years, but the reduction in mortality persists in the long term at about one life saved per thousand women screened.

"We screen more thoroughly than in the 1990s, so the benefits may even be greater than in this study".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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