London, Jan 9 (UNI) Two days after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown threw his weight behind a range of screening programmes as a means of catching early diseases, a new study has revealed that breast cancer screening reduces the risk of dying from the disease by almost half.
According to a study of women seen on the NHS published today, 48 per cent of the women screened for breast cancer were less likely to die of the disease than those who were not examined.
''This is the strongest evidence yet that screening programmes like this save lives. The results showed that the NHS breast cancer screening programme has been even more effective at saving lives than we predicted,'' the Guardian quoted lead reseacher Stephen Duffy as saying.
The breast cancer screening programme was being extended so that by 2012 all women from age 47 to 73 would get an invitation.
''I hope the study will encourage women to make an informed choice to accept their invitation for screening,'' Julietta Patnick, director of NHS cancer screening programmes said.
Early detection improved treatment options and led to a more successful outcome.
Survival rates for breast cancer have improved for more than 20 years - eight out of 10 patients now survived more than five years.
This was partly due to the effective screening programme, Sara Hiom of UK's Cancer Research said.
An earlier study had, however, estimated that for every 2,000 women screened, one would have her life prolonged, but 10 would be diagnosed with a cancer that might never have progressed and would be treated unnecessarily.
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