Mammograms for 40-49 Years Old Women Improve Breast Cancer Prognosis

Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram

Nurse assisting a patient undergoing a mammogram.

A recent Swedish Cancer Institute study revealed that women between the ages of 40–49 who’ve had yearly mammograms and subsequent breast cancer diagnosis fare better than those that don’t. On the heels of a 2009 U.S. Preventative Services Task Force release recommending that women in that very age bracket delay or forego yearly mammograms, the findings represent over 18 years of data collection and a step towards victory in the fight for early detection of breast cancer.

The Swedish Cancer Institute study:

  • Compiled data from the medical records of almost 2,000 women;
  • Compared early detection rates from mammograms versus non-mammography (ex., breast self exam);
  • Found that early detection led to higher breast conservation-focused treatment;
  • Not without controversy – some experts disagree with the inclusion of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ diagnoses in the study (more than 60% of cases studied), on the basis that it is not believed to be life-threatening.

It goes without saying that early detection is the key to survival. The study noted a sharp increase in the number of Stage 0 diagnoses, and at the same time saw an astonishing identical decrease in the number of Stage 3 diagnoses for this age group. As early detection requires much less invasive treatment, it leads to lower costs and better health outcomes. Diagnosis at Stage 0 generally means a 100% success rate, post treatment. At Stage 3, outcomes decrease dramatically.

Mammograms are not only beneficial, but necessary for early detection in women 40-49, who comprise over 20% of all new breast cancer diagnoses. What are you waiting for? Schedule your yearly mammogram today!