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News2007August › Breast Cancer: Biopsies may be responsible for the rise in the over-50s › August 2007

Breast Cancer: Biopsies may be responsible for the rise in the over-50s

Breast cancer is on the increase - and it may be partly due to the use of biopsies, which test if tissue is cancerous

Breast cancer is on the increase - and it may be partly due to the use of biopsies, which test if tissue is cancerous.

Researchers fear that the biopsy may be playing a part in the spread of early-stage breast cancer, especially among women aged over 50 years.

Breast cancer among women aged between 50 and 64 years has been increasing by 1.8 per cent every year since 1990, an inexorable rise that cannot be fully accounted for by improved scanning programmes.

All other age groups have been showing a decline in breast cancer rates over the same period - and it is the 50 to 64-year-olds who are more likely to have a biopsy.

(Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007; 99: 1044-9).

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