There is a constant debate on whether screening mammograms offer a significant benefit to patients.
In the American Cancer Society journal, CANCER, a Swedish study has found that early mammogram screenings can significantly reduce the number of deaths from metastatic breast cancer.
The study evaluated 549,091 women, covering approximately 30% of the screening‐eligible population in Sweden. The results showed that women who had regular screening mammograms had a statistically significant 41% reduction in their risk of dying of breast cancer within 10 years, and a 25% reduction in the rate of advanced breast cancers, compared to individuals who did not participate in mammogram screenings. According to the study, these benefits appeared to be independent of recent changes in patient treatment regimens.
The study concludes that the “benefits of participating in mammography screening are truly substantial and save lives through early detection, lives that otherwise would have been lost under the prevailing therapy at the time of diagnosis.”
This study offers encouraging insight into the benefits of regular breast cancer screening. It is important for both women and men to discuss their overall risk of developing breast cancer to determine the best time to begin screening, and how often they should be screened.
Performing monthly at-home self-breast exams is also a very important, free screening tool everyone should practice in addition to regular radiologic screening. However, this should not replace the imaging screening recommended by your healthcare team.
If access to care or cost is keeping you from following through with your recommended breast cancer screening appointment, please check out the Financial Assistance tab within the Resource section in the Breast Advocate app.