Consistent adherence to the five most recent mammography screenings prior to a breast cancer diagnosis reduced breast cancer death risk by 72 percent in comparison to women who did not have the mammography screening, according to new research findings presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference.
In a new review of more than 36,000 breast cancer cases over a 24-year period, researchers reaffirmed that regular mammography screening significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer death.
For the study, presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference in Chicago, researchers examined mammography screening participation among 36,079 women in Sweden who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2016. The study authors noted that 4,564 of the women studied died from breast cancer.
The researchers found that breast cancer survival rates ranged between 82.7 to 86.9 percent for women who participated in the five most recent mammography screenings prior to breast cancer diagnosis. In contrast, women who did not have any of those screenings prior to diagnosis had a survival rate between 59.1 and 77.6 percent, according to the study authors.
In comparison to women with no mammography screening, the researchers emphasized that adherence to the five mammography screenings prior to diagnosis reduced the risk of breast cancer mortality by 72 percent.
“Women who attended all five previous mammography examinations prior to a diagnosis of breast cancer were nearly three times less likely to die from breast cancer compared with women who had not attended any examinations, and each additional examination attended among the five previous examinations conferred an additive protective effect against dying from breast cancer,” said study co-author Robert A. Smith, Ph.D., a senior vice-president and director of the American Cancer Society for Cancer Screening in Atlanta.
While 73 to 96 percent of those studied had at least one of the five scheduled mammography exams prior to diagnosis, the researchers pointed out the common nature of irregular mammography screening. Only 58 to 73 percent of women in the study participated in five scheduled mammography exams prior to diagnosis, according to Smith and colleagues.
“If a woman unknowingly has breast cancer and misses or postpones her mammogram during this time when she has no symptoms, but her breast cancer is growing and perhaps spreading, then the window for early detection will be lost,” maintained Dr. Smith.
(Editor’s note: For more coverage of the annual RSNA 2023 conference, click here.)