(HealthDay News) — Middle-aged breast cancer patients undergoing screening mammography are statistically less likely to be treated with chemotherapy compared to non-screened patients, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society, held from May 4–9 in San Diego.

Nelly Salem, MD, from University Hospitals-Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, and colleagues compared the use of chemotherapy for treatment of breast cancer in women ages 40–49 undergoing screening mammography (screened; 149 patients) compared to women diagnosed after diagnostic evaluation (non-screened; 81 patients).

The researchers found that, of the 230 primary breast cancers, non-screened patients were more likely to undergo chemotherapy (P=0.042) than screened patients. The majority of the 98 high-risk lesions identified (81%) were diagnosed in the screened population.

“When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines were published in 2009, confusion was created among patients and primary care providers on when and if 40–49-year-old women should be screened,” Salem said in a statement. “Without screening mammography, these asymptomatic high-risk women would be unaware of their risk and the opportunity to decrease their risk of subsequent breast cancer development with use of chemoprevention.”

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