(HealthDay News) — Mammographic screening, introduced in England in 1988, has not had a significant impact on breast cancer mortality, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Toqir K. Mukhtar, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the effect of mammographic screening on population-based breast cancer mortality in England. Mortality rates (according to all causes of death mentioned on death certificates) were analyzed for the Oxford region for 1979 to 2009, and national breast cancer mortality rates were assessed for 1971 to 2009.
The researchers found that trends for breast cancer mortality based on underlying cause and on mentions were similar in the Oxford region. In 1985, the mortality rates peaked for underlying cause and mentions for all ages combined, and then started to decrease before the introduction, in 1988, of the National Breast Screening Program. For mortality measured as underlying cause, the rates declined by 2.1 percent per year between 1979 and 2009 for women aged 40 to 49 years (unscreened) and for women aged 50 to 64 years (screened). Between 1982 and 1989, prior to the introduction of screening or before screening was likely to have had an effect, the first estimated changes in trend occurred. The subsequent downward trend was greatest for those aged younger than 40 years (−2.0 percent per year in 1998 to 2001 and −5.0 percent per year in 2001 to 2009).
“Mortality statistics do not show an effect of mammographic screening on population-based breast cancer mortality in England,” the authors write.