Breast Cancer Screening
A substantial volume of information on breast cancer screening by mammography has become available over the last 30 years. Regional and national screening programmes have been established in a number of countries. However, the value of mammography screening in reducing breast cancer mortality has been questioned recently - most notably in a Cochrane Review. The International Agency for Research on Cancer convened an international group of 24 experts from 11 countries to evaluate all relevant published studies during March 2002. The group concluded that there is sufficient evidence from randomized trials that mammographic breast screening of women aged 50-69 years reduces mortality from breast cancer by 25%. There is only limited evidence for an effect in women aged 40-49 years. There is little evidence on which to base recommendations on the frequency with which women should be offered mammographic screening. In most trials women were invited to be screened at intervalsof about 24 months. There is inadequate evidence available to indicate whether screening clinical breast examination can reduce mortality from breast cancer. There is inadequate evidence to indicate whether breast self-examination can reduce mortality from breast cancer.
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