Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pair of studies show missed mammograms increase risk of late-stage diagnosis

Mammogram showing
suspicious lesions
A pair of studies of mammography utilization show that women who missed mammograms tended to be diagnosed at a later stage. 

In a single institution study in the Nov. 2013 American Journal of Roentgenology researchers found that, regardless of age, women who underwent mammography were more likely to have early-stage breast cancer at diagnosis than were those who did not undergo mammography. 

In an earlier study analyzing treatment failure among 7,301 breast cancer patients in the Sept. 9, 2013 Cancer, Harvard researchers found that among the 609 breast cancer deaths, 65 percent had never had a mammogram.
The AJR study concluded that routine mammograms decreases the chance of a late-stage breast cancer diagnosis, potentially decreasing the need for more aggressive treatment and the attendant harmful side effects, while improving chances for a better overall prognosis.

Another point brought out by the AJR study was that women who had no family history, had fewer overall medical encounters, or had greater travel time to the mammography center tended to forgo mammograms.

In the treatment failure analysis study the Harvard researchers found that the median age at diagnosis of the fatal cancers was 49 years. The researchers concluded that screening women before age 50 should be encouraged.

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