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Am Surg. 1999 Nov;65(11):1061-6.

Relationship between method of detection of breast cancer and stage of disease, method of treatment, and survival in women aged 40 to 49 years.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Detroit Medical Center/Sinai Hospital, Michigan, USA.


The optimal breast cancer screening program for women 40 to 49 years of age remains controversial. To help assess the value of screening mammography for this age group, we studied the relationship between the method of breast cancer detection and stage, therapy, and survival. Cases of breast cancer diagnosed at Sinai Hospital (Detroit, MI) between January 1985 and December 1994 were reviewed. A total of 181 cases involving 40- to 49-year-old women were available for analysis. The distribution of stage of disease significantly differed among the three methods of detection (P<0.0001). Breast-conserving surgery was more commonly performed in cases detected by screening mammography and clinical breast examination than in cases detected by breast self-examination (P = 0.001). Variation in the stage of disease resulted in improved survival for cases detected by screening mammography and clinical breast examination when compared with those detected by breast self-examination (P = 0.019). Women diagnosed with breast cancer between the ages of 40 and 49 years had earlier stage disease, were more likely to be treated with breast-conserving therapy, and had better survival if their disease was first recognized by screening mammography. Screening mammography has an important role for women of this age.

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