Monday, July 15, 2024

Breast Cancer Screening Efficacy Across Different Age Groups

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An in-depth analysis of breast cancer diagnoses over the span of a decade reveals critical insights into the effectiveness of current screening programs. The study categorizes patients into three age groups: below 45 years, between 45-65 years, and above 65 years. These findings emphasize the importance of potentially revising screening guidelines to enhance early detection and treatment outcomes for women of varying ages.

The study, conducted retrospectively from 2010 to 2020, aimed to evaluate the distribution of breast cancer stages and molecular subtypes across different age groups. A total of 3282 women diagnosed with breast cancer were included in the analysis. Researchers specifically examined the TNM stages, severity classes, and molecular subtypes to discern patterns and variances by age.

Distribution of Diagnoses by Age Group

The analysis showed that 51.4% of breast cancer cases were detected outside the recommended screening age group. These cases were often diagnosed at a higher TNM stage compared to those identified within the screening age range. Notably, older women exhibited a significantly higher frequency of advanced breast cancer than both the screening age population and women younger than 45 years.

Further, the study highlighted that hormone receptor-negative (HR-/HER2-) and HER2-positive (HER2+) tumors were more prevalent among women under 45. These subtypes were less common in women within the recommended screening age range and those older than 65 years.

Implications for Screening Programs

These findings suggest that current screening programs may need adjustments to better cater to the needs of different age groups. Extending the screening age group and modifying the screening frequency based on molecular subtype risk could significantly enhance early detection and improve patient outcomes.

Key Insights for Healthcare Policy

– Consider extending the screening age group beyond the current recommendations.
– Adjust screening frequency based on the risk associated with specific molecular subtypes.
– Focus on early detection strategies for younger women, particularly those under 45 years, who show a higher prevalence of aggressive tumor subtypes.
– Prioritize advanced diagnostic methods for older women to catch higher-stage breast cancer earlier.

This study underscores the importance of tailored breast cancer screening programs that respond to the unique needs of different age groups, thereby potentially improving early detection rates and treatment efficacy.

Original Article: Discov Oncol. 2024 Jun 22;15(1):240. doi: 10.1007/s12672-024-01096-9.

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