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Screening cuts breast cancer deaths

Charities have welcomed a study which suggests screening women for breast cancer can cut deaths from the disease by nearly 50%.

The research published in the British Journal of Cancer looked at the effect of the national screening programme in East Anglia.

Professor Stephen Duffy, the lead researcher and Cancer Research UK's professor of cancer screening, said the results are better than expected.

"The results of our study showed that the NHS breast cancer screening programme has been even more effective at saving lives than we predicted," he said.

Julietta Patnick, director of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, added: "Huge strides have been made over the past two decades and today, more women than ever before are surviving breast cancer, many of whom have benefited from early detection through routine breast screening."

And Tara Beaumont, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: "This research highlights the crucial role that the NHS breast screening service plays in reducing deaths from breast cancer in the UK, and is particularly welcome following the increase in age range for breast screening announced in the Cancer Reform Strategy.

"Early detection is vital as it can improve treatment options and lead to a more successful outcome, as these figures have shown."

British Journal of Cancer

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"Yes it does. However, the young women should also be considered for breast screening to avoid the delayed diagnosis in case one is in danger." - Lungile Adams

"Early services are fantastic as long as the GP is aware of them and uses them. My mother was treated with antibiotic for six weeks before I went mad and got a rapid breast referral made" - Name and address supplied