Mammograms and Breast Cancer Death Risk

Friday, January 08, 2010

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women. The risk for women getting it in their lifetime is about 1 in 8. Without a mammogram, women may not know they have breast cancer until it is advanced and much harder to treat. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looked at mammograms and their effect on breast cancer deaths in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Three of every four breast cancer deaths occur among women who do not undergo regular screening mammograms.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School studied 7,000 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in Massachusetts between 1990 and 1999. Surveys indicated that 80 percent had regular mammograms.

Over the next 13 years, there were 461 deaths from breast cancer; 345, or 75 percent, were among women who did not receive regular mammograms and 116, or 25 percent, were among women who were regularly screened.

Other studies have shown that regular mammograms, which help detect breast cancers at earlier, more curable stages, cut the risk of dying from breast cancer by anywhere from 25 to over 50 percent.

But researchers said the large, population-wide analysis helps to better illustrate the practical benefits of mammography.

Yearly mammograms are recommended by the American Cancer Society starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.