Protection against breast cancer: According to the federal authority, mammography screening makes sense from the age of 45

Protection against breast cancer: According to the federal authority, mammography screening makes sense from the age of 45

Medical examinations for early detection of breast cancer According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), it makes sense not only from the age of 50, but from the age of 45. One Authority report (PDF), early detection through mammography screening can reduce mortality rates Breast cancer also reduce by 20 percent for women under 50 years of age. Even for 45-year-olds, screening is “associated with more benefits than risks,” said the BfS.

The authority recommends that the lower age limit for participation in the screening program be reduced from 50 to 45 years. So far, regular X-ray examinations have only been carried out on women between the ages of 50 and 69.

Maximum age for examinations increases from 69 to 75 years

According to the BfS, one of the risks of the procedure is X-rays. “However, the report assesses the radiation risk to be low overall compared to the benefits,” the authority said in a statement. This assessment has been true for women over 50 for a long time, and for younger women only since the report was published.

The report “also proves that the associated radiation risk is relatively low,” said BfS President Inge Paulini. The interval for the examinations, which are normally carried out every two years, remains the same. The Federal Joint Committee will decide whether participation in mammography screening from the age of 45 will be financed by statutory health insurance companies in the future.

The BfS already had one in 2022 Extension of age requirements up to 75 years examined and approved. Women in this age group are expected to be able to take part in screening from the middle of this year. The extension is also recommended in the new version of the European breast cancer guidelines.

5,000 women between 45 and 50 develop breast cancer in Germany every year

In addition to X-rays, another risk of the examination is the high proportion of false positive tests – that is, breast cancer is diagnosed even though there is none. According to the authors of the report, it is impossible to estimate whether earlier screening would lead to more false positive results. They assume that the proportion would hardly change. The false positive results would therefore have been diagnosed at the age of 50.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In Germany, around 5,000 women in the age group between 45 and 50 get it every year. This corresponds to a value of around seven percent of all cases of the disease out of 70,000 per year. For the report on this age group, the BfS evaluated publications on eight studies from four countries.

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