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Not all breast cancers are fatal, says study

A new Australian study has suggested that almost one in four invasive breast cancers in women of ages between 50 to 69 years is not fatal. Read on to know more about breast cancers.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 12, 2009 13:38 IST

Breast cancerA new Australian study has suggested that almost one in four invasive breast cancers in women of ages between 50 to 69 years is not fatal.

The research has further heated up the question: what part of abnormalities picked up by the mammogram tests can actually threaten life?

Epidemiologist Dr Stephen Morrell of the University of Sydney and her colleagues studied cases in New South Wales and found that the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer and aged between 50-69 increased almost two times after tests began. However, tests of women outside this age group did not show a similar leap.

The researchers concluded that tests were even showing up cases where cancer-growth was very slow. "Some of those early-diagnosed cases would not manifest clinically during that woman's lifetime," ABC Online quoted Morrell, as saying. He added that nearly 23 percent to 29 percent of all invasive breast cancers cases in NSW are over-diagnosed.

The researchers whose study centred on invasive cancer say that the current rate of 25 percent over-diagnosis is the price that people must for the benefits of screening.

While admitting that over-diagnosis was a very vexing issue, Professor David Roder from the Cancer Council South Australia in Adelaide said: "I think there are equally rigorous studies that come to different conclusions."