Breast Cancer Now | February 2019| New trial suggests that younger women could benefit from annual screening
A leading charity has funded research that found evidence that indicates women aged 35-39 at a moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer, could benefit from annual screening.
Professor Gareth Evans, who led the trial funded by Breast Cancer Now, looked at whether screening these women through annual mammograms could pick up tumours earlier. The study found that when tumours were picked up through screening, most were smaller in size, and were less likely to have spread to lymph nodes, compared to women who weren’t screened.
In total 2,899 women aged 35-39 at moderate or high risk of breast cancer due to their family history were offered annual screening across 34 UK centres between 2006 and 2015.
In total, 50 breast cancers were detected (in 49 women), of which 35 were invasive tumours. Of the 35 invasive breast cancers, 80% (28/35) were detected by screening when the tumour was 2cm or smaller in size, and only 20% (7/35) had spread to the patients’ lymph nodes.
While the researchers acknowledge that further research to fully understand the risks and benefits of screening this group. However, detecting breast cancer early gives women the best possible chance of survival, and we would like the upcoming review of NHS cancer screening to consider these results and to review services offered to women with a family history of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Now today called for the upcoming review of NHS cancer screening programmes to include an assessment of family history services across the country, and to set out the health economic evidence required to consider extending screening to women aged 35-39 at moderate or high risk due to their family history (Source: Breast Cancer Now).
University of Manchester Annual screening detects breast cancers earlier for women aged 35-39 with a family history
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