The key to spotting breast cancer and reducing the risk of fatal disease is early detection and screening. Diagnosing the illness early on helps improve health outcomes. New research shows that participation in mammography screening substantially reduces the rate of advanced and fatal breast cancer.
A team of researchers at Falun Central Hospital in Sweden has found that mammography screening reduces the risk of fatal breast cancer by 41 percent within ten years of diagnosis and a 25 percent reduction in the rate of advanced breast cancers. The findings of the study, published in the journal Cancer, sheds light on the importance of screening in diseases, particularly Cancer.
The researchers analyzed data from a population of more than 500,000 women, which covers about 30 percent of the screening-eligible population in Sweden.
“Some may believe that recent improvements in breast cancer treatment make early detection less important. Our study shows that nothing can replace finding breast cancer early,” Dr. László Tabár, a professor in the department of mammography at Falun Central Hospital in Sweden, said.
To arrive at their findings, the team compared rates of advanced breast cancer that were fatal within ten years after diagnosis for women who had mammograms and those who did not. The team gathered data from national registries in Sweden on each breast cancer diagnosis and the date of death of each case. They also noted the tumor characteristics from regional cancer centers.
They found that the average time of occurrence of breast cancer that was fatal within ten years of diagnosis is 13 years, and 22 years for advanced disease.
Overall, the team found that there was a 60 percent reduction of fatal breast cancer within ten years of diagnosis among women who had screening compared to those who did not.
“This study shows that participation in breast cancer screening substantially reduces the risk of having fatal breast cancer. Because the comparison of participating with non-participating persons was contemporaneous–with mammography screening and breast cancer treatment belonging to the same period–it is not affected by potential changes in the treatment of breast cancer over time,” Dr. Stephen Duffy of the Queen Mary University of London and a co-author said.
Breast cancer screening in Sweden is conducted using two-view mammography. The country’s policy involves screening women who are from 40 to 54 years old every 18 months, and women aged 55 to 69 years old every two years.
Past studies have shown the benefit of mammograms and early screening. Though some experts tied the benefit to improvements in breast cancer care, the new study may provide an insight into the real importance of mammograms in the fight against breast cancer.
“Substantial reductions in the incidence rate of breast cancers that were fatal within ten years after diagnosis and in the advanced breast cancer rate were found in this contemporaneous comparison of women participating versus those not participating in screening. These benefits appeared to be independent of recent changes in treatment regimens,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
The researchers emphasized the benefits of participating in mammography screening, which is essential in saving lives through early detection.
High Fiber and Breast Cancer
A separate study highlights the importance of having a high fiber intake to prevent breast cancer. The study provides an insight into the link between fiber intake and breast cancer risk. The authors of the study performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies to land to their findings.
The team found that women who consume a fiber-rich diet, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. The study pooled data from 20 studies of fiber consumption and breast cancer incidence. There was an 8-percent reduced risk of breast cancer for those with a high-fiber diet.
“A random‐effects meta‐analysis of prospective observational studies demonstrated that high total fiber consumption was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. This finding was consistent for soluble fiber as well as for women with pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer,” the team wrote in the paper.