Better Prognosis For 40-49 Year-Olds Breast Cancer Patients Diagnosed Using Mammography
According to a study conducted at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, mammography-detected breast cancers between 40 and 49 years have a better prognosis and longer survival rates.
Dr. Malmgren along with a team researchers have conducted a study and reviewed the charts of patients with breast cancer aged between 40 and 49 years, treated between 1990 to 2008. The study included a sample of 1977 patients on which researchers evaluated the method of diagnosis, disease stage, treatment and annual follow-up.
The purpose of this study was to assess differences between breast cancer diagnosed using mammography and those detected by other means and to asses whether early detection provides any benefit to the patient. The results revealed an increase in breast cancer cases detected by mammography during the study, 1990-2008. A decrease in breast cancer cases detected by the patients and physicians was also observed.
Dr. Malmgren pointed out that changing modalities of diagnosis of breast cancer during the last 18 years and the introduction of mammography led to an earlier diagnosis. Thus, the number of breast cancers detected in stage 0 increased to 66%, while the number of stage 3 decreased by 66%.
Regarding the type of cancer, most diagnosed cases were ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early type of cancer that does not infiltrate deeper tissues.
Another objective of the study was to identify the type of treatment. He noted that in mammography diagnosed breast cancer, patients underwent a conservative treatment. Specifically, these patients underwent lumpectomy, and not radical mastectomy as other patients. Furthermore, cancer mortality was considerably smaller.
Discovery of breast cancer in an early stage not only reduces mortality but also morbidity. Early diagnosis translates into no courses of chemotherapy and radical mastectomy surgery. The side effects of chemotherapy and the psychological radical mastectomy has must not be overlooked and should be avoided if possible.
The American Cancer Society and other medical organizations recommend that all women over 40 year not to avoid or delay their annual mammography screening for breast cancer. In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force implemented controversial guidelines that eliminated the recommendation of annual breast cancer screening by mammography, arguing that the false-positive outcomes surpass the benefits.
Dr. Malmgren emphasised the crucial role of mammography and concluded that its main objective is to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages and therefore contributing a better prognosis and chances of complete remission.