Breast cancer mortality is significantly reduced when women regularly attend screening mammograms, according to research that was presented Nov. 30 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Early detection of breast cancer, before symptoms are present, is key to survivability. According to the American Cancer Society, women between the ages of 45 and 54 should get mammograms every year. Women who are 55 years and older can switch to every other year or continue with annual mammograms. Skipping just one scheduled mammogram could result in a more advanced breast cancer diagnosis, significantly impacting a patient’s chance of survival.
“The purpose of mammography is to detect breast cancer during the few years it can be seen on a mammogram, but before symptoms are apparent,” said study author Robert A. Smith, Ph.D., senior vice president and director of the American Cancer Society Center for Cancer Screening in Atlanta, Georgia. “If a woman unknowingly has breast cancer and misses or postpones her mammogram during this time when she has no symptoms, but her breast cancer is growing and perhaps spreading, then the window for early detection will be lost.”
RSNA has the full press release.