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Would starting mammography at 40 reduce disparity in Black women’s deaths?

If Black women begin mammography screening every other year starting at age 40, breast cancer deaths could be reduced by 57 percent compared to starting screening 10 years later according to a new analysis. It’s the first to use modeling to elucidate modern breast cancer screening strategies that best achieve equity in screening outcomes and reduce mortality disparities.

The research suggests that a reduction in breast cancer deaths can be achieved for Black women while maintaining the same ratio of benefits to harms as occur when white women undergo biennial screening starting at age 50. Recommendations over the past two decades have not accounted for the role of racism (structural, interpersonal, or internalized) and its impact in breast cancer treatment, length of survival and deaths among Black women.

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