Women who undergo breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, new research has revealed.
According to data compiled by Queen Mary University of London, women who participate in screenings had a 60 per cent lower risk of dying from breast cancer within 10 years after diagnosis. They also had a 47 per cent lower risk of dying from breast cancer within 20 years after diagnosis.
The study, which involved 52,438 women aged 40 to 69 years, found women respond better to treatment when cancer is detected at an earlier stage, meaning a faster and more effective response is possible.
While recent improvements in treatments have led to reduced deaths from breast cancer, professor Stephen Duffy said the new results demonstrate the vital role that screening also has to play.
“We need to ensure that participation in breast screening programmes improves, especially in socio-economically deprived areas,” he explained.
Sadly in Australia breast cancer is identified as the most common cancer affecting women with an estimated 18,087 women and 148 men estimated to be diagnosed this year alone.
Baby Boomers are most at risk, with a recorded 79 per cent of breast cancer in women developing over the age of 50.
Thankfully, with a range of treatments available and the increase in breast screening facilities, the number of deaths from breast cancer is decreasing.
According to research released back in September screening and early detection is of a great benefit in the treatment of a range of cancers, such as cervical and bowel cancer.
The study revealed, when it comes to cervical cancer, roughly 5 per cent of cases were diagnosed through cervical screening, with these women having an 87 per cent lower risk of dying from cervical cancer than women who had never had screening.
Similarly, the risk of dying from bowel cancer was 40 per cent lower for people aged between 50 and 69, who were diagnosed through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, compared to those diagnosed outside the program. Around 11 per cent of the 31,000 bowel cancers diagnosed between the 2006-2012 study period were diagnosed through the national program.
The purpose of screening programs is not just to detect cancer, but to detect the disease earlier to improve outcomes for patients. In turn, this reduces the impact on the health system. The research also found that women who were diagnosed with cancer through a one screening program were more likely to participate in other programs they were eligible for. This means more cancers are likely to be detected, which can lower to risk of death.