Breast cancer is a
common cancer among women and accounts for loss of valuable lives every
year. Regular screening for breast cancer
is done with the help of mammograms.
However, in some cases, the cancer is diagnosed or identified after a
negative mammogram and before the next scheduled mammogram; these cancers are
referred to as interval breast cancers.
Some suggest that these tumors should be treated more aggressively.
Mette Kalager and
colleagues conducted a study to assess the prognosis of women with interval
breast cancer. The study was published in BMJ
2012. It was carried out in Norway in the period between 1996 and 2005
enrolled 7116 females in the age group of 50 to 72 years, with a diagnosis
breast cancer. 5300 women patients were diagnosed with breast cancer who had not undergone proper screening,
while 1816 patients were identified with interval breast cancer.
The patients were followed for 10 years and it was noted
that the rate of survival among interval breast cancer patients was 79.1
percent and among non-screened cancer patients was 76.8 percent.
The scientists said
that 'tumors associated with interval breast cancers are more likely to be
larger than those diagnosed in the absence of mammography screening; but they
have strikingly similar survival outcomes.'
They concluded that both non-screened breast cancer females
and those with interval breast cancer had almost identical prognosis of breast
cancer with no significant variation.
It is therefore not necessary to treat interval tumors more aggressively
as compared to non-screened breast cancers.
Prognosis in women with interval breast cancer:
population based observational cohort study; Mette Kalager et al; BMJ 2012