Swedish Study Supports U.S. Groups' Position Calling for Mammography Screening for Women Aged 40-49

The results of a review of major clinical trials released at a meeting in Sweden today strongly support mammography screening for women in their 40s, according to three major U.S. medical and womens' organizations. The groups are the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

The review showed a 24% decrease in deaths from breast cancer among those women invited to have screening mammograms compared to those women who were not invited to have the screening. Results of the review were released at an international conference under the auspices of the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare in Falun, Sweden.

The findings from Sweden strongly support the recommendation of more than 20 other national medical groups for regular mammographic screening of women in the 40-49 age group. Among those groups are the ACR, ACS, the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, Y-ME, The Komen Foundation, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as numerous other national groups.

Included in the study were seven regional clinical trials from five Swedish cities, one in Scotland, and a major clinical trial in New York City.

The studies involved screening every two years, and if such screening were done annually, the decrease in deaths would likely be as much as 35%, according to Dr. Stephen A. Feig, professor of radiology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, a nationally recognized expert in screening mammography. Dr. Feig is the author of numerous published articles analyzing mammography clinical trials.

Dr. Feig, a member of the ACR Task Force on Breast Cancer, also pointed out that the impressive 24% decrease was recorded without the benefit of the more advanced mammography machines used today. Therefore, he said, "we can really expect to see an even greater impact of screening in the future."