29-year Study shows Long-Term Benefits to Mammography

July 1, 2011

Mammographic screening sharply lowers the risk of breast cancer death over the long-term, according to a study published online June 28 in the journal Radiology.

Mammographic screening sharply lowers the risk of breast cancer death over the long-term, according to a study published online June 28 in the journal Radiology.

The study, which followed 133,056 women aged 40-74 for 29 years, divided women – all from two Swedish counties –  into groups who received mammography and a control group who did not. The screening period lasted seven years, with women from 40-49 being screened every two years and those 50- 74 every 33 months. 

For every 414 to 519 women undergoing mammogram screenings, one breast cancer death was prevented, found the team led by author Stephen W. Duffy, MSc, of Queen Mary University of London.

"In this study, we've continued to monitor women for nearly three decades and we've found that the longer we look, the more lives are saved," Duffy said in a statement.

The study represents a statistical counterpoint to the U.S. Preventative Task Force’s controversial 2009 recommendation to eliminate routine breast-cancer screening for women in their 40s. Breast Cancer is the second most lethal of cancers among women, behind only lung cancer.