Breast screening – lessons from the past

Author(s): Dr Nuala Healy, Dr Angela O'Brien, Dr Sylvia O'Keefe, Professor Fidelma Flanagan

Hospital: BreastCheck, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, St James's Hospital, Dublin

Reference: RAD Magazine, 43, 502, 24-25


Breast cancer is a global health issue, being a major cause of female morbidity and mortality. Data from 2012 show an incidence of approximately 463,000 new cases and 131,000 deaths (mortality rate 23.1 per 100,000 women) across 40 countries in Europe. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women and the second most common cause of cancer related death in women.

Two of the earliest breast cancer screening trials, the Health Insurance Plan in New York and the Swedish Two County Study, reported that screening reduced the risk of dying from breast cancer by approximately 30% in women over 50. These trials, in conjunction with the UK Forrest Report which published recommendations for breast cancer screening, acted as catalysts for initiation of breast cancer screening programmes worldwide.

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