Women 59 per cent more likely to die from cancer if found between scans

It’s the most common cancer for women and it takes the lives of so many every year.

New data has revealed that women diagnosed with breast cancer between mammograms experience poorer survival, prompting a warning from the Cancer Council urging women to be breast aware even between mammograms.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged all women to be breast aware so that they don’t get a very dire prognosis at their next scan.

“Analysis of historical data shows that women diagnosed with breast cancer in between routine mammograms were 59 per cent more likely to die from their cancer than those with a screen-detected breast cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“This finding was consistent across Queensland, for regional and urban areas.

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“It’s absolutely critical that … women are breast aware and familiarise themselves with the normal look and feel of their breasts,” Ms Clift said.

“All women should see a doctor immediately if they notice any unusual breast changes.

“Participating in regular mammograms is imperative, but Queensland women need to prioritise their health and get familiar with their breasts in-between screenings too.

“If you notice any changes, don’t wait for the next mammogram – being breast aware could save your life”.

“Around 80 per cent of all interval tumours are aggressive and fast-growing, a factor that accounts for poorer survival rates,” Ms Clift said.

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“We recommend that women continue to participate in routine screening but carefully monitor their breast health between screenings.

“BreastScreen … remains the most effective way to detect breast cancer early on a population-wide scale.

“About 6 in every 1000 women who are screened have a cancer detected, and fewer than one in 1000 will have an interval tumour detected”.

The joint CCQ, QUT, BreastScreen Queensland study found 2843 Queensland women aged 40-89 were diagnosed with an interval-detected breast cancer from 1997-2007, compared to 6898 diagnosed with a screen-detected cancer.

It is recommended that all women aged 50-74 have a mammogram every two years through BreastScreen and women at a high risk or with a family history should discuss their screening options with a GP.


Tell us, has breast cancer touched you or your family? How often do you have scans?