Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Mortality

September 11, 2012

Breast cancer mortality can drop significantly among women who undergo screening.

Breast cancer mortality can drop as much as 49 percent among women who undergo cancer screening, say Australian researchers in an article published in the September 10 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The researchers from the University of Melbourne studied 427 women who died of breast cancer who were each matched with up to 10 controls, for a total of 3,650 controls. The number of breast cancer screenings for the women in both groups were then compared.

The association between screening participation and breast cancer mortality was estimated, as well as quantifying the effect of potential sources of bias, including selection bias, information bias, and confounding. The authors also conducted a meta-analysis of published case-control studies.

It was found that the women who had died of breast cancer had undergone fewer screening procedures through the Western Australian BreastScreen Program than did the controls.

The odds ratio for screening in relation to death from breast cancer was 0.48. The researchers wrote that they were unable to identify biases that could negate the findings.