Regular breast screening using mammography, a type of x-ray that uses low doses of radiation, has helped to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer in many European countries. Breast cancers that are detected by screening mammography are usually smaller and are less likely to have spread. As a result patient with a screen-detected breast cancer usually have a better prognosis and live longer than patients who find an actual lump in their breast. Even at the same size and stage, patients with screen-detected breast cancers have a better prognosis than those with a lump1.

1 Screen-detected versus symptomatic breast cancer-is improved survival due to stage migration alone? Wishart GC, Greenberg DC, Britton PD, Chou P, Brown CH, Purushotham AD, Duffy SW. Br J Cancer 2008;