New research suggests breast cancer screening for women reduces their death risk from the disease by 40 percent.
Scientists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) looked to end the long-running debate on the efficacy of breast cancer screening and found that in Britain, women aged 50 to 69 have reduced their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent in relation to women who have not, MailOnline reported. The study claims that the reduction can be attributed to a regular mammogram.
As some experts are uncertain about the effectiveness of breast cancer screening, the new data from 16 countries says otherwise, especially for middle-aged women.
As per Britain's national program, women who were invited to have regular mammography have a 23 percent risk reduction compared with those who are not.
The study also found out that for 1,000 women who have attended the screening, about eight lives were saved, The Times reported.
Another finding was that women aged 70 to 74 have a lower chance of dying from breast cancer. However, breast cancer screening made before 50 years old found slight benefit.
"This important analysis will hopefully reassure women around the world that breast screening with mammography saves lives. The evidence proves breast screening is a vital tool in increasing early diagnosis of breast cancer and therefore reducing the number of deaths," said Stephen Duffy, professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary University of London and contributor to the research, The Guardian reported.
However, Duffy added that mammography is not the only test that should be done for breast cancer screening.
"Despite evidence that mammography screening is effective, we still need to carry out further research on alternative screening methods, such as the promising digital breast tomosynthesis, a newly developed form of 3D imaging which could potentially improve the accuracy of mammography in coping with more dense breast tissue," he said.
The IARC researchers published their study in the New England Journal of Medicine.