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Breast cancer is a widespread disease that usually affects women in their 50’s and 60’s. The article “Screening for Breast Cancer” presents guidelines for the females who are concerned about this problem. Biennial mammography might either benefit or harm patients. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of possible outcomes of this procedure. The main goal of this paper is to describe the specific set of clinical circumstances under which the application of screening is the most beneficial for women aged 40 to 74 years.
Mammography is a procedure that involves the application of low-energy X-rays in order to diagnose breast cancer. The article by Siu (2016) provides recommendations on biennial mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 74. The author suggests that women under the age of 50 should decide on undergoing mammography individually. Females who feel the necessity for such tests might begin biennial screening at the age of 40.
Also, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) states that there is not enough evidence to analyze the advantages and drawbacks of screening mammography for women over the age of 74. In addition, the USPSTF claims that there is not enough evidence that supports the application of digital breast tomosynthesis as a preventive approach to breast cancer. Breast ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, or other procedures cannot contribute to better outcomes for patients with negative screening mammograms.
However, mammography screening is considered to be a measure that reduces breast cancer mortality among patients between the ages of 40 and 74. Breast cancer death rates are higher in women aged 60 to 69 years (Siu, 2016). Except for age, there are other risk factors for breast cancer. Women between the ages of 40 and 49 whose relatives suffer breast cancer are at the same risk group as women aged 50 to 59 years who do not have such a family history.
However, there are certain harms caused by screening for females between the ages of 40 and 74. The main negative factor is the treatment of non-invasive and invasive cancer that is not life-threatening. Another problem is false-negative test results. Such incidents delay necessary treatment and often result in deaths. Also, it is worth mentioning that deaths caused by radiation-induced breast cancer rarely take place.
The USPSTF provided the meta-analysis of various clinical tests. This research includes the analysis of the screening of 10,000 women between the ages of 60 and 69 (Siu, 2016). The results show that this procedure reduces the number of breast cancer deaths by more than 50 percent. This research includes cases that took place 30 years ago. Therefore, it does not reflect the current correlation between screening mammography and breast cancer deaths. However, this technology has been significantly improved since then, and the ways of the treatment for breast cancer have been positively changed as well.
The research also revealed that harms of mammography outweigh its benefits for women under the age of 50. However, for females in their 60’s, screening is highly beneficial. The main risk factors for younger patients are overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and invasive testing. The CISNET model describes favorable clinical circumstances for screening (Siu, 2016). It demonstrates that this procedure reduces the number of breast cancer deaths in women aged 40 to 74 years. However, it reveals a large number of unnecessary breast biopsies and overdiagnosed breast tumors. Although the mostly recommended age to start biennial screening is around 50, this procedure might be crucial for younger females in specific cases.
The main problems relating to breast cancer screening are false diagnoses and unnecessary invasive procedures. However, it was proved that this method helps to identify the disease at an early stage and consequently reduce the number of deaths. Therefore, it is highly recommended to follow the described above guideline to prevent the development of this dangerous disorder.
Siu, A. L. (2016). Screening for breast cancer: US preventive services task force recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 164(4), 279-296.