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Mammograms: They detect just half of all early-stage breast cancers
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

The standard mammogram test detects only half of all breast cancers in the vital early stages

The standard mammogram test detects only half of all breast cancers in the vital early stages.

A new study has found that the mammogram x-ray scan picks up just 56 per cent of early-stage breast lesions in women classified as being in a high-risk group.

Most breast cancers begin with non-invasive cancerous cells in the milk ducts which, if detected and treated early enough, can prevent the disease progressing. Lead researcher Christiane Kuhl at the University of Bonn commented: "If you picked up all cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) you would prevent virtually all cases of breast cancer."

The researchers also discovered that magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) - which is currently used for brain scans - was a more effective test, picking up 92 per cent of early-stage cancers. Currently, only young woman at high-risk of breast cancer are offered the more expensive MRI scan.

The mammogram is the standard screening test for woman aged between 50 and 70 years.

(Source: The Lancet, 2007; 370: 485-92).

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