Early Mammography Screening Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer Mortality

According to study findings published in Cancer, mammography screenings reduce the rates of advanced and fatal cancers by more than 40%.

According to study findings published in Cancer, mammography screenings reduce the rates of advanced and fatal cancers by more than 40%.1

Guidelines published by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center state that breast cancer screening includes regular exams intended to detect the disease before symptoms develop and at its earliest, most treatable stages.2 The guidance added that women between ages 25 and 40 should have an annual clinical breast examination, and women 40 and older should have an annual mammogram.2

Researchers analyzed more than 500,000 women and calculated the rates of advanced breast cancers and cancers that were fatal within 10 years of diagnosis. They compared those findings with women who participated in recommended mammography screenings and women who did not.1

According to the results, women who participated in screenings experienced a 41% reduction in fatal cancers within 10 years after diagnosis and a 25% reduction in the incidence of advanced breast cancer.1

“This study shows that participation in breast cancer screening substantially reduces the risk of having a fatal breast cancer,” said investigator Stephen Duffy, MSc, in a statement. “Because the comparison of participating with non-participating persons was contemporaneous—with mammography screening and breast cancer treatment belonging to the same time period—it is not affected by potential changes in the treatment of breast cancer over time.”1

Notably, investigator Laszlo Tabar, MD, emphasized that participating in screenings for breast cancer reduced the risk of dying from the cancer above and beyond what is obtainable with current therapies and without screening.1

“Some may believe that recent improvements in breast cancer treatment makes early detection less important,” Tabar said in a statement. “Our study shows that nothing can replace finding breast cancer early.”1


  • Early mammography screening lowers risk of developing fatal breast cancer [news release]. EurekAlert; May 11, 2020. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/w-ems050620.php. Accessed May 19, 2020.
  • Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/types/breast/mammograms-breast-exams/screening-guidelines-breast?gclid=CjwKCAjwh472BRAGEiwAvHVfGoPlfCuTLKtV9PDHO4dPFrZqoMt4qtDqMSAIDOJuePZCV7PoBfnttRoCY1IQAvD_BwE. Accessed May 19, 2020.

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