Breast cancer most often begins in the cells lining the milk ducts. An experimental technique known as ductal lavage, involves "washing" breast milk ducts with saline and examining cells for signs of precancerous or cancerous changes.
2. The annual mammographic screening of 10,000 women aged 50-70 will extend the lives of, at best, 26 of them; and annual screening of 10,000 women in their 40s will extend the lives of only 12 women per year.
3. Since the 1980s, the Canadian National Breast Screening Study has been following more than 39,000 women who received either an annual physical breast examination or an examination plus mammography. Breast cancer detection for both groups was about the same: 622 for the mammography group and 610 for the physical exam-only group. However, breast cancer detection averaged about two years earlier for the mammography group. There were 88 deaths among the women who had examinations plus mammography, compared with 90 for the physical exam-only women. However, since the cancer was detected earlier with mammography, it would seem as if the women were living longer. Actually, they were living longer only in relation to the date of diagnosis. An earlier diagnosis would seem to give them a longer survival rate, when, in fact, they were dying at the same rate as always.