Specialists warn: women under 40 or over 75 are less on the detection radars of the breast cancer. And this, despite the existence of risks for the elderly.
Breast cancer is the most common and deadly cancer among women worldwide, with some 54,000 new cases each year and more than 12,000 deaths in France.
But “mortality has decreased thanks to treatments and put on display “, stressed Pr Emmanuel Barranger, general director of the Antoine Lacassagne center in Nice, on Thursday during a press conference of the French Society of Senology and Breast Pathology. The earlier a cancer is detected, the better the chances of survival and the less intense and aggressive the treatments will be.
Reduce screening eligibility to 45
For the French Society of Senology and Breast Pathology, “the question of screening does not arise for women under 40 years of age, apart from women with a high risk of cancer (genetic predisposition, family history of breast cancer)”, but it is “More complex for women between 40 and 50 years old, since 15% of cancers occur in this age group.”
To “detect more and better” cancers, the European Commission also recommended this Tuesday, among other things, lowering the age from which women are eligible for organized breast cancer screening in the EU to 45 years.
3 cm cancers
Under 40, what supervision? “You must already identify, with a health professional, a risk factor or not”, and “there is no reason to have a mammogram before the age of 40 otherwise”, judged Thursday Luc Ceugnart, president of the SFSPM and head of the medical unit. imaging center at the Oscar-Lambret center in Lille.
Surveillance of women is also important. For example, “if there is a lump in the breast, a change in appearance of the breast, and this persists after a change in menstrual cycleyou have to be examined” and “not hide your head in the sand,” he insisted.
The alarm is greater for women over 75, even as life expectancy increases and aging increases cancer risk.
“A large number of women over 74 years of age think that follow-up is no longer necessary, which leads to the management of late-stage cancer,” the SFSPM worries in a press release. “Sometimes we see 80-year-old women arrive with 3-centimeter cancers, they didn’t get a mammogram because they no longer received the invitation to screening,” according to Professor Barranguet.
With a tumor significant affected lymph nodes, or even metastatic cancer, the danger increases. And, the older you get, the harder it can be to recover from chemotherapy, for example.
Should systematic screening be extended to these older patients? Not for specialists, but they want to encourage patients and doctors to continue monitoring individually.
For those over 75 years of age, the SFSPM defends “a great communication effort” and a mammogram, with a prescription, every two years.
An annual clinical examination (palpation) is also desirable, according to her, but “it is rarely done, in particular due to the demographic medical crisis but also due to the lack of information from health professionals.”