No family history of breast cancer should not make Indian women aged 40-49 to stop yearly screening the disease. More than half the women aged 40-49 diagnosed with breast cancer on screening mammography report no family history, a new study shows. The study, conducted at Rochester of all breast cancers diagnosed between 2000 and 2010, found that 228 out of 373 cancers (61%) were found in women, aged 40-49 with no family history of breast cancer.
“Out of 211 women we looked at finally in this study, 135 (64%) who did not have a prior personal history of breast cancer or abnormal cells and had no family history of breast cancer, had the disease,” said Stamatia Destounis , study’s lead author. Screening mammography rate in India is abysmally low. WHO’s latest World Health Statistics (WHS) said less than 5% women, aged 50-69 years, underwent screening by mammography in India between 2000-2003 .Among women, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality, accounting for 16% of cancer deaths globally. “Less than a quarter of women globally undergo breast cancer screening. In India, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. One in 26 women in India are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime,” WHO said.
Dr Bhavana Sirohi, breast cancer specialist said screening should actually start from age 45 on Indian women. “Indian women attain menopause five years before the women in the West making the former more susceptible . That’s why women in Indian should be screened from age 45.”