(HealthDay News) – More than half of cancers that are detected in women aged 40 to 49 years, who undergo screening mammography, occur in those with no family history of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society, held from April 29 to May 4 in Vancouver, Canada.

Stamatia Destounis, MD, from Elizabeth Wende Breast Care in Rochester, NY, and colleagues reviewed patient records to identify cancers diagnosed between 2000 and 2010 in a population of patents that would have gone undiagnosed had screening not been performed.

The researchers identified 6,154 cancers in 5,813 patients. Among 1,071 patients aged 40 to 49 years, there were 1,116 cancers (18.1%). Of these cancers, 373 (33.4%) were diagnosed in women who presented for mammography screening, and 228 (61%) of these women had no family history of breast cancer. Invasive cancer was diagnosed in 135 cases (63.9%); of these, 21 had positive lymph nodes. Forty-three patients chose to undergo mastectomy; 91 underwent lumpectomy, and eight of these proceeded to mastectomy; and one patient did not have surgery due to metastatic disease.

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“We weren’t surprised by the results of the study, but the data do confirm that women in their 40s benefit from screening mammography yearly,” Destounis said in a statement.

Abstract No. 176
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