Regular Mammograms May Cut Mastectomy Risk in Half
Early detection of breast cancer with mammograms starting at age 40 may save twice as many women age 40-50 from mastectomy.
British researchers recently presented a study at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting stating that regular yearly mammograms starting at age 40 would greatly reduce risk for women age 40-50. Researchers hope to appeal to healthcare policy makers by pointing out the number of breasts saved when annual mammograms start at 40.
In the UK, current guidelines state that screenings start at 50. Twice as many women between 40 and 50 lose their breast when their cancer is found, as they typically find it themselves with a breast self exam. In the US, recommendations from the American Cancer Society advocate regular mammograms starting at age 40.
Researchers say that while it’s true that most cancers occur in older women, when it occurs in younger women it tends to be more aggressive. These women have the most to gain from annual screenings. According to Dr. Nicholas Perry, director of the London Breast Institute in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women 35-54.
Women can lower their risk of breast cancer by following several health guidelines. Women should limit alcohol consumption and exercise regularly to help protect themselves from developing breast cancer. Further, maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to cut risks. Studies have shown that a high fat diet is associated with a 35% higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with a more regular fat intake. Smoking is a risk factor for more than just lung cancer but has been shown to put you at risk for other cancers as well. Those undergoing treatment for breast cancer should also know that smoking increases the risk of complications from the treatment.