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Breast cancer screening 'benefits over 70s'

Breast cancer screening 'benefits over 70s'
21st April 2008

Breast cancer screening could hold benefits for women aged over 70, according to recent research.

A study conducted at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam found that the number of deaths caused by the condition fell by 30 per cent after the upper age limit for screening was extended, reports the BBC.

The research team also noted that more women aged between 70 and 74 were sent for further checks after screening, compared with those aged 50 to 69, with a higher proportion of the older age group being confirmed to have breast cancer.

However, Jacques Fracheboud, who led the study, told guests at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Berlin: "There is not necessarily an argument for continuing screening beyond 75 because many tumours found at this stage are slow-growing and may never reach the stage of causing a problem."

In the UK there are plans to extend the screening age from 70 to 73 by 2012.

According to Cancer Research, some 44,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and the NHS's screening programme saves approximately 1,400 lives annually.

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