Mammogram 'increases detection of low-risk cancers'

20 December 2011

Women aged over 50 have an increased chance of being diagnosed with lower-risk breast cancer, which can be easily detected with a mammogram, a new study has found.

According to research carried out by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) scientists in collaboration with the Netherlands Cancer Institute, low or ultra-low-risk tumours in women can now be better found with a mammogram scan, which photographs a female's breast tissue.

The researchers looked at tumours detected 20 years ago before the advent of the mammogram and compared them to after the invention of the screening device. They found that the detection of slow to moderate-growth tumours increased.

Lead author at the UCSF's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Laura Esserman said: "A significant number of screen-detected tumours are very low risk. It shows that we have an opportunity to improve care by using molecular predictors to recognise who has these ultra-low-risk or idle tumours."

She added that the information should be able to help radiologists decide how aggressive a tumour is.

Women over 50 are most likely to be given a mammogram, unless a lump is found in the breast tissue in earlier life.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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