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Dear Friends,


Recently, the British Medical Journal published a study that questions the value of mammograms. One of the largest studies of mammography, the Canadian investigation involved 90,000 women and took 25 years to complete. The size and the scope of the study have caused the media to take note. However, this report does not offer new data, but rather provides follow-up on an old trial, one that was used with many others to formulate today's breast screening guidelines.

Regular mammography has long been an issue of debate in the medical community. While mammograms are not perfect tests, VBCF continues to follow the American Cancer Society's guidelines recommending that women of average risk receive annual mammograms starting at age 40. As we have learned in the last 20 years, breast cancer is a complex disease. There is no easy solution to one of the world's biggest problems, but mammography is one of the best methods we have to detect this disease in our current breast cancer control strategies. VBCF encourages Virginians to speak with their health care providers about their unique situations in order to understand their options and make the best choice. To read some national responses to this study, please see the Recent News & Research Highlights section below. 

Wishing you good health, 

 

Katy Sawyer's Signature 

Katy Sawyer

Executive Director

VBCF is Awarding Mini-Grants to Non-Profits

The Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation is offering mini-grants of up to $1000 to non-profit organizations.  The purpose of this grant program is to provide funds for breast cancer health education for Virginians. Priority will be given to projects in areas of the state with breast cancer incidence or mortality rates higher than the state average and/or to projects serving low-income, uninsured or underinsured, medically underserved, or other marginalized populations in need of targeted, customized breast cancer educational approaches.

 

Click here for more details.  Applications are due by April 14.

 


Canadian Study Questions Mammogram Screening; Findings Unlike Those of Other Studies

 

Canadian researchers have concluded a clinical trial that they say casts doubt on the value of annual screening mammograms for women ages 40 - 59. The study, published February 11, 2014 in British Medical Journal, found that annual screening does not reduce breast cancer deaths, but can lead to over-diagnosis, meaning cancers were found - and treated - that if undetected, would have caused no problems during the patients' lifetime.

 

  



ASCO Perspective on Mammography Screening for Breast Cancer

 

In response to the Canadian National Breast Screening Study update, published in the British Medical Journal, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) emphasizes the following:

 

There has been a longstanding debate over the most appropriate age and frequency of mammography screening for breast cancer. This report is a reanalysis of a previously reported study that now provides longer-term follow-up. The study reaffirms earlier results showing no reduction in mortality in women age 40-59 who were screened with mammography compared with those who did not receive mammography screening. Importantly, the updated report provides a more reliable estimate of the risk of overdiagnosis associated with routine mammography screening.  Mammography is similar to many other screening tests in that it can detect some tumors that would never have caused problems for the patient had they not been detected (overdiagnosis). It is also known that women who are not at an elevated risk for cancer have a greater potential for harm from screening due to an increased risk of a false-positive result (a positive test result that turns out not be to be cancer). However, the benefits of screening are likely to be greater for women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer based on factors such as age and family history, than for women at average risk.

 
 
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National Breast Cancer Coalition Statement on The Canadian National Breast Screening Study  

  

NBCC President Fran Visco calls results of study helpful to women's health

  

A Canadian screening study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal confirms NBCC's long-held position that an enormous amount of resources and attention have been spent on mammography, despite the lack of strong evidence that screening significantly reduces mortality from breast cancer. The Canadian study found that 22% of women whose cancers were detected by mammograms were overdiagnosed and subjected to unnecessary treatment.

  

 
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BCRF Responds to New Mammography Study

  

On Tuesday, the British Medical Journal published a study that questions the value of mammograms. One of the largest studies of mammography, the Canadian investigation involved 90,000 women and took 25 years to complete. The size and the scope of the study have caused the media to take note. However, the report does not offer any new data, but rather provides follow-up on an old trial, one that was used with many others to formulate today's breast screening guidelines. 

 

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