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The survival rate of breast cancer has improved dramatically over the past few decades, and a new study of medical records suggests that improvements in cancer testing may have played a large role in the trend.
Like most cancers, breast cancer is most effectively treated when it is discovered in its early stages. The study noted that the ability of doctors to differentiate between non-cancerous growths and to detect lesions that may become a problem improved between 1996 and 2004.
James Brenner, who led the research, said that improvements in medical imaging technology have increased the ability of doctors to see detailed images of growths beneath the skin's surface.
"We found universal trends that breast imagers are increasing their ability to detect and intercept breast cancer before a lump is felt by a woman," he said. "This is good news for women and for radiology that we have seen a net improvement in how radiologists interpret mammograms."
The survival rate of breast cancer has seen steady improvements in recent decades, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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