Barcelona, Spain: The average size of breast cancers at diagnosis decreased dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s following the introduction of screening, according to research presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.
However, the new research also reveals a slight increase in the average size of breast tumours since 2001, perhaps as a result of a decrease in the number of women going for screening in the same period.
The researchers say it is not yet clear whether the recent increase in average tumour size will lead to more deaths from breast cancer in the coming years. But they point out that, in general, women with smaller tumours at diagnosis have a better chance of surviving the disease.
The research was carried out by Dr Manon Jenkins, junior doctor, Miss Louise Merker, surgical registrar, Mr Nicholas Gallegos, consultant surgeon, and colleagues at Weston General Hospital in Bristol, UK.
Dr Jenkins said: “In general terms, small breast cancers have a better prognosis than larger ones. Screening aims to detect breast cancers before they are large enough for a woman to feel them. If that’s the case then the number of large cancers among women who are offered screening should
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