Study suggests screening mammograms should begin at age 40

December 1, 2010

Annual mammography screening of women in their 40s reduces the breast cancer death rate in these women by nearly 30%, according to a screening study.

Annual mammography screening of women in their 40s reduces the breast cancer death rate in these women by nearly 30%, according to the findings of a landmark multicenter breast cancer screening study from Sweden.

The study involved more than 600,000 women in 34 regions throughout Sweden who were followed for more than 16 years.

Researchers calculated that the number of breast cancer deaths among the women in the study who did not receive screening was twice as high as among those who received mammograms.

The results, which are even more robust than similar findings of previous studies, suggest that more women's lives could be saved if they began receiving annual screening mammograms at age 40 years.

Hellquist BN, Duffy SW, Abdsaleh S, et al. Effectiveness of population-based service screening with mammography for women ages 40 to 49 years: evaluation of the Swedish Mammography Screening in Young Women (SCRY) cohort. Cancer. September 29, 2010. Epub ahead of print.