Benefits of expanded mammograms for 45-year-old women

Benefits of expanded mammograms for 45-year-old women

BarcelonaBreast cancer is the most common tumor among women and also the one that causes the most deaths, although the survival rate for patients is close to 90%. In 2023, 1,067 women died in Catalonia from this type of cancer, which is why health authorities insist on early detection of the disease: the earlier the tumor is detected, the greater the chances of recovery – yes. Of the 5,337 cases diagnosed, nearly half were women between the ages of 50 and 69, so experts recommended that early detection programs target women in this age group. These patients are given a test every two years called a mammogram, which consists of X-rays of the breast to look for cancer cells or lesions and thus predict more advanced stages of cancer. Experts now recommend regular screening starting at age 40 and continuing until age 74.

“Expanding the breast cancer screening program would increase the chances of survival because cases would be diagnosed earlier and there would be a decline in surgical treatment, that is, surgeries would be less aggressive,” explains the head of the Breast Cancer Unit of the Catalan Institute. Oncology (ICO) of Girona, Gemma Viñas. However, the expert points out that the expansion of the program must be done gradually and properly evaluate the risks and benefits for patients in each age group. In the regions of Girona, adherence to the program is very good and 70% of women called for testing participate. In addition, Phineas points out that there is a group of patients who perform opportunistic screening, which means that they do it on their own and regularly when they go to the gynecologist, especially in the age group between 40 and 50 years.

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Last year, 1,098 cases of breast cancer were detected in Catalonia in the age group of 30-49 years and 1,622 cases in the age group over 69 years. Taken together, the total number of diagnoses is higher than in women aged 50 to 69 years, the age group in which diagnostic testing is currently concentrated for detecting tumors early. Experts from the US Preventive Services Task Force also suggested delaying the start of mammography screening by 10 years, according to a study published in the journal. Gamma Published at the end of April. In this regard, they argue that expanding programs would improve current survival rates and also warn that more and more cases are being detected between the ages of 40 and 50 years.

Regarding Europe, the authorities also propose to carry out this expansion and direct regular examinations to all women between the ages of 40 and 74 years. In this scenario, the Ministry of Health is considering expanding the scope of periodic examinations to include younger and older age groups as well, as stated above Newspaper. But at the moment, Catalan experts are evaluating the measure and have not made any decision yet, health sources told ARA.

Increase in cases

One reason for recommending expanded screening is the general increase in breast cancer cases in all age groups. “Because it is the most common, it is also the most deadly,” says Phineas, who links the increase in diagnosis to the spread of unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption and being overweight. The latter is a “very important” risk factor for the development of any cancer, so the expert insists that it is essential to influence public health policies that favor healthy lifestyles.

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However, he believes it makes sense to expand the screening program and believes it should start with women over 69 years of age. “As the population ages better, it is important that these women continue to participate in shows,” says Phineas. Expanding routine testing to include more age groups will also increase health care pressure and health care expenditures, although this must be done to improve patient survival rates.

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