Study proves benefits of breast cancer treatment screening

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Screening helps breast cancer treatment

The Brazilian Society of Mastology, following the indication of several international entities, recommends “mammography screening (screening) annual from age 40 for women at usual risk and from age 30 for women at high risk”. According to Ministry of Health guidelines, breast cancer screening should be done every two years starting at age 50, and annually starting at age 35 for high-risk women.

According to international data, early diagnosis and rapid initiation of treatment can reduce breast cancer mortality by up to 30%, with fewer radical surgeries and fewer sequelae.

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A recently presented American study proves the contribution of screening in improving treatments for early and advanced diseases. Based on an analysis of the national database of the United States, with information from 2000 to 2017, and using mathematical models, the research estimated the gain obtained in recent years with the adoption of the breast cancer screening.

The first important finding is that there was a significant drop in mortality attributed to the disease in 2000. versus 2017. The reduction in the number of deaths, which was 35% in 2000, increased to 48% in 2017 for early diseases, indicating a 13% increase in people saved over this period thanks to the screening. Similarly, mortality from metastatic breast cancer also decreased from 23% to 20%.

Digging deeper into the data, we observed that 10-year distant recurrence-free survival was 82% in 2000 and increased to 87% in 2017 for all tumors. When we focused on HER2 positive tumors (very aggressive cancers), the rate increased from 78% to 90% metastasis-free survival.

Thus, for the entire population, there was a 5% increase in survival and, for HER2 positive patients, the increase was 12% of the population remaining metastasis-free for 10 years after local treatment.

In metastatic disease, survival has increased from 1.48 years in 2000 to 2.8 years in 2017, demonstrating significant gains from improved treatment for early and advanced disease, as well as advances in mammography.

Keeping up with these advances and discoveries allows us to ensure better prognoses and, therefore, stronger outcomes for patients. Talk to your doctor about breast cancer screening and choose the best strategy for prevention and early diagnosis.

Fernando Maluf is co-founder of the Vencer o Câncer Institute and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Santa Casa de São Paulo.

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