Scanning Younger Women Could Prevent Breast Cancer


The new study estimates that regular screening plus improved treatments cut the expected rate of breast cancer death in 2018 by between 45 to 58 percent, according to the study published February 11 in the journal Cancer.

While more women are now surviving the disease than ever before, breast cancer remains the leading cause of death in women under 50 in England and Wales1 - with over 920 younger women losing their lives to the disease in 2017.

In a new prospective trial in younger women (FH02) - led by Professor Gareth Evans at The University of Manchester - 2,899 women aged 35-39 at moderate or high risk of breast cancer due to their family history were offered annual screening across 34 United Kingdom centres between 2006 and 2015.

The current screening offering starts for women at the age of 40, the study suggests the programme should be rolled out to women from the age of 35 up.

For the study, experts led by a team at the University of Manchester, writing in the journal EClinicalMedicine from The Lancet, examined data for 2,899 women from 2006 to 2015.

In a major new trial, annual mammograms for younger women detected the disease when tumours were far smaller and before the cancer had spread, giving patients a much better chance of survival.

The BTHO Breast Cancer Game will also feature a survivors walk at half-time for women who have either defeated breast cancer or are now battling it.

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At the moment women are eligible for a scan due to their family history from the age of 40. Hence, before allowing it to spread in the entire body, these small tumors could be removed permanently to prevent women from breast cancer.

Prof Gareth Evans, the lead author of the study said that for women who did not undergo screening had fewer of the cancers discovered when they were still small. The NHS offers all women aged 50 to 70 breast x-ray screening every three years....

"We've long known that a family history can define a woman's risk, and that breast cancer can be more aggressive in younger women".

"Over 335,000 women were diagnosed with new breast cancer in the United States in 2018", she noted, and "eight out of ten of these women have no family history of breast cancer".

Baroness Morgan said more research was now needed, including on the potential costs of extending screening.

Breast Cancer Now's chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: "This could be an enormous breakthrough".

"In the absence of screening, it is so important for women at increased risk to remain breast aware and to report any unusual changes in your breasts to your doctor", she said.