Susan G. Komen for the Cure® agrees with New England Journal of Medicine study that mammography alone is not enough; supports development of new screening methods
DALLAS – September 23, 2010 – A new study over the usefulness of mammography confirms what most people in the breast cancer community already know. Mammograms are one tool in the breast cancer cache: better early detection, widespread awareness and more effective treatments all play a role in reducing deaths from the disease, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
“This study suggests that mammography is not as effective a tool as we would like it to be. That message has been put forward repeatedly in the past year,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Komen’s founder and CEO. “Let’s stop focusing on what mammography is not, and instead work toward developing new detection tools. I challenge the community to commit, as Komen has, to invest in the development of better early detection tools while we drive for cures and prevention, and educate women about this disease.”
Brinker did praise the Norwegian study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine today, for concluding awareness and better treatments, rather than mammography alone, have been effective factors in reducing mortality from breast cancer. Death rates from breast cancer in the U.S. have declined during the past two decades due to many advances.
“For 30 years, Komen has not just endorsed just such an integrated approach, we have invested in it, we have led grassroots efforts in it so that that women, policy makers, and regulators understand its importance, and we continue to lead around the globe in these areas. As this study shows, that approach is clearly effective,” Brinker said.
Komen’s current portfolio in this area is diverse -- spanning research tools that include biomarkers, ultrasound technology and other more portable, specific and sensitive early detection methods. However, until there is a breakthrough, Brinker warned women not to become complacent about early detection in their own lives.
“We know that early detection is critically important for women with the earliest stages of breast cancer in this country,” she said. “Five-year survival rates of 98 percent are a clear improvement from when we started our work thirty years ago. Women must remain vigilant and proactive about their health.”