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March 13, 1981

Breast Cancer Screening: The Case for Screening Women Younger Than 50 Years

Author Affiliations

The Walter and Eliza Hail Institute of Medical Research Victoria, Australia

JAMA. 1981;245(10):1060. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310350048025

The mortality from breast cancer is almost unchanged, as a result of a constant high incidence and little change in the prospects for cure for the women with breast cancer. The increased use of mammography and adjuvant chemotherapy will probably result in some decrease in the mortality, but it will be some years before this can be observed.

In any consideration of breast cancer today, there are several facts that should be emphasized: approximately one third of the women with breast cancer diagnosed are younger than 50 years; there is a real fear in all women about the loss of the breast; drugs and hormonal therapy as used today are not curative of diagnosed metastatic disease though they may prolong survival; the Halsted radical mastectomy is rapidly being replaced by the modified radical mastectomy; and the quadrantectomy (lumpectomy, limited resection, or tylectomy) has not yet been shown to be the