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US Breast Cancer Deaths Averted Over Three Decades

13 February 2019

Breast cancer is the UK's most common cancer, with around 55,000 women and 350 men being diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom - and it is estimated that around 5-15% of cases are linked to a family history of the disease.

Breast Cancer Now's chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: "This could be an enormous breakthrough".

Under current NHS guidelines, women are not regularly screened until the age of 40, but bringing testing forward would see an extra 86,000 women undergoing check-ups each year.

Health chiefs have been urged to consider screening such women from 35 after the study concluded that this would find nearly twice as many tumours at an early stage while halving the number that had already spread by the time they were detected.

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Breast cancer screening should begin at 35 for at-risk women, to pick up thousands of cases earlier and save lives, experts have said.

Thirty four United Kingdom screening centres took part in the trial, finding that mammograms for women from 35 to 39 with a moderate or high risk of breast cancer were able to detect tumours at a significantly smaller size compared to those found in women screened later in life. In this screening, 35 invasive breast cancer tumors of small size were detected before they could reach the lymphatic nodes.

The BTHO Breast Cancer Game will also feature a survivors walk at half-time for women who have either defeated breast cancer or are now battling it.

"While we now need to understand the full balance of risks, costs and benefits of mammography in this group, we are extremely excited by the potential to adapt our world-class NHS screening services to prevent more deaths from breast cancer in younger women".

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"Our trial shows that mammography screening is effective in detecting tumours earlier in this younger age group, and lays the groundwork for extending this screening in women at moderate or high risk from ages 40-49 down to women aged 35-39".

Baroness Morgan said: "Early detection remains absolutely critical to stopping women dying from breast cancer". But those reports have also often neglected "the most important aspect of screening - that finding and treating breast cancer early saves women's lives", Hendrick said. During the match-up, each player's name on their jersey will be replaced with the name of someone who has battled breast cancer.

He said more research is now needed to determine the impact of this screening on women's overall survival.

An NHS England spokesperson said an upcoming review will consider changes to the screening programme.

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US Breast Cancer Deaths Averted Over Three Decades