Up to 86,000 women in their thirties with a family history of breast cancer should receive annual mammograms, new research has suggested.
New studies show that breast cancer is being picked up in younger age groups than covered by NHS screening programmes.
The current screening starts for women at the age of 40. The study suggests the programme should be rolled out to women from the age of 35. Less likely to spread to the lymph nodes.
Thirty four UK screening centres took part in the trial.
It found that mammograms for women from 35 to 39 with a moderate or high risk of breast cancer detected tumours at a significantly smaller size compared to those found in women screened later in life.
Researchers also found that cancer was less likely to have spread to the lymph nodes if detected early.
Researchers have hailed the study as an “enormous breakthrough” in the treatment of cancer.
The disease is the most common cause of death of women under 50 in England. More than 900 women died of the disease in 2017.
2,899 women screened
The report, published by The Lancet, said examined data from 2,899 women screened between 2006 and 2015.
The trial drew comparisons with a group of women aged 35 to 39 who were at increased risk but did not undergo screening.
In this group, far fewer cancers were detected when they were still small and far more of the tumours had already spread to the lymph nodes.
An NHS England spokesperson said an upcoming review will consider changes to the screening programme.
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