A recent study from the Journal of Cancer showed most breast cancer deaths occurred in women not regularly screened with mammography.
Among the confirmed breast cancer deaths, 29% were among women who had been screened and 71% were among unscreened women. The median age at diagnosis of fatal cancers was 49 years. Half of all the breast cancers deaths occurred in women under age 50, and only 13% in those 70 and older.
Although a 2009 panel of experts from the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended women aged 50-74 should get screening mammograms every two years, this study reinforces the American Cancer Society recommendation for annual screening beginning at age 40 for women of average risk. Younger women tend to have faster-growing more aggressive tumors and should start screening at age 40.
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