Study: Attending Consecutive Mammography Screenings Prior to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Protects Against Death

March 8, 2021
Aislinn Antrim, Associate Editor

Women who attended the 2 more recent screenings prior to their breast cancer diagnosis had a 50% lower incidence of their cancer being fatal within 10 years.

New research published in Radiology suggests that women who attend their 2 most recent breast cancer screening appointments prior to a breast cancer diagnosis had some protection against cancer-related death.

According to a press release, women who participated in both of their previous 2 screenings had a 50% lower incidence of their breast cancer proving fatal within 10 years of diagnosis, compared to women who did not attend either of the last 2 screenings. Compared to women who attended only 1 of the previous 2 screenings, women who attended both had a 22% to 23% reduction in breast cancer mortality.1

Of the 549,091 women who were included in the analysis, 392,135 women participated in both previous screenings. There were 41,746 intermittent participants, 30,945 lapsed participants, and 84,265 serial nonparticipants. Among the entire group, a total of 2589 cancers proved fatal within 10 years.2

“While there is ample evidence that breast cancer mortality is reduced in those who attend screening, these results demonstrate that repeated attendance confers greater protection than attendance at a single screen,” said lead author Stephen Duffy, BSc, in a press release. “We need to ensure that the screening experience is as stress-free as possible, so that people will come back.”1

The study, conducted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, included more than 500,000 Swedish women and was conducted over 24 years. In the press release, principal investigator Laszlo Tabar, MD, FACR, said the research was conducted in 9 Swedish counties and added that the findings reinforce the value of early detection efforts.1

“This work adds additional evidence confirming the value of early detection of breast cancer through regular attendance at mammography screening, helping women and their physicians make informed decisions,” Tabar said in the news release.1

REFERENCES

  1. Attending consecutive mammography screens protects against breast cancer death [news release]. EurekAlert; March 3, 202 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/qmuo-acm03032php. Accessed March 5, 202
  2. Duffy S, Tabar L, Yen A, Dean P, et al. Beneficial Effect of Consecutive Screening Mammography Examinations on Mortality from Breast Cancer: A Prospective Study. Radiology; March 2, 2021. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2021203935. Accessed March 5, 2021.