Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Correlation Between Breast Cancer Mortality and Advances in Screening and Treatment

By: Sara Tewksbury
Posted: Friday, March 2, 2018

Advances in breast cancer screening technology and targeted therapies aim to reduce mortality rates, and that could be just what they are doing. A collaborative model study, led by Sylvia K. Plevritis, PhD, of Stanford University Medical School, found there was a correlation between advances in screening and treatment and the breast cancer mortality rate. The mortality rate reduced by 49% in 2012, compared with a reduction of 37% in 2000, with treatment making more of an impact than screening. These findings were published in The Journal of American Medical Association.

There were six models looking at the breast cancer mortality trends for U.S. women between the ages of 30 and 79 in comparison advances in mammography technology and newer adjuvant therapies. The results from the models were clear: As screening and treatments advanced, breast cancer mortality rates decreased.

However, the results did vary with the molecular subtype. For the most common subtype, estrogen receptor–positive/ERBB2-positive cancer (which has more treatment options), 69% of the mortality decline was associated with treatment and only 31% were linked to screening advances. With less common subtypes, there is less of a distinction between the effect of screening or treatments on the mortality rate.

The researchers hope these results will aid policy makers and other researchers when deciding on future research projects and investing in technology advancements.

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