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Originally published in June 2003 icon
The Lancet (Saturday 26 April, 2003) reports that amongst 200,000 Swedish women aged between 20 and 69, numbers of women who died from breast cancer in the pre-screening period declined by 44% after screening was introduced.
However, with greater breast cancer awareness, the report showed women who were not screened during the second period mortality rates also dropped 16 per cent.
The conclusions are being used to justify mammography, which has a lot of dissenting voices. But before people get carried away, it is of course possible that the regular screening made those women tested more health and breast aware.
Stephen Duffy, Cancer Research UK's Professor of Cancer Screening, correctly says: "This produces very strong evidence that screening women for breast cancer, along with other improvements in breast cancer care, can almost halve the number of women who might otherwise die from the disease.