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Annual Breast Cancer Screening Beginning at Age 40 Reduces Mastectomy Risk

Having a yearly mammogram greatly reduces the risk of mastectomy following breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"The results of this study support the importance of regular screening in the 40 to 50 age group," said lead author Nicholas M. Perry, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.R., director of The London Breast Institute at The Princess Grace Hospital in London. "Women in this age group who had undergone mammography the previous year had a mastectomy rate of less than half that of the others."

An estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2010. Currently, the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammography screening for women beginning at age 40 in the U.S., but last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended changing the guidelines to begin screening biennially (every other year) at age 50. There are no routine screening guidelines for women under 50 in the U.K.

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