In a new study published in Cancer researchers concluded that in the last 30 years since mammography was introduced, the late-stage breast cancer incidence decreased by 37 percent. Researchers took into account an observed trend of increased cancer incidence present since the 1940′s. The researchers looked at early-stage and late-stage breast cancer diagnoses between 1977-1979, before mammography was popular, and compared it with diagnoses between 2007 and 2009. Based upon trends observed over the period the researchers took into account a central increase in breast cancer incidence of 1.3 percent per year called an annual percentage change (APC). Thus, the number of breast cancers diagnosed increased independently of efforts for early detection. The researchers lo0ked at the data from the 1970s and projected incidence of early and late stage breast cancer in 2007-2009 based upon the APC. They then compared the projected rates with actual rates. they found that late-stage breast cancer incidence decreased by 37 percent from the projected rate, whereas the early-stage breast cancer incidence increased by 48 percent from 1977-1979 to 2007-2009. They also carried out similar analysis using different APC values ranging from 0.5 to 2 percent and all estimates showed a substantial decrease in late-stage breast cancer. They said this is what you would expect with a successful screening program. Researchers said we are detecting more early-stage breast cancer while decreasing the incidence of late-stage cancers that are more difficult to treat according to Dr Mark Helvie.
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