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Expanding lab tests for breast cancer to more women could save millions of lives, according to a new study at the recent European Breast Cancer Conference.
The findings could add fuel to the debate over the appropriateness of breast cancer testing. Some experts argue that frequent testing leads to overdiagnosis and treatment of issues that may never become dangerous. However, others say testing is necessary to catch tumors in their early stages, when they are more treatable.
For the current study, a team of researchers from the Netherlands used public health data to develop models of the effect of providing lab tests for breast cancer to more women. The results showed that if more women were screened every two years it could reduce breast cancer-related deaths by 15.7 percent.
"This paper will make an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the level of benefit of a population-based mammographic screening program," said David Cameron of the University of Edinburgh, who commented on the research.
He added that the findings help measure the effect of regular testing for breast cancer, which could enable doctors to make more informed recommendations to their patients.
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