Years of research have confirmed that women ages 50 to 69 who are
screened with mammography on a regular basis have a reduced chance of dying
from breast cancer. In 1993 when the National Cancer Institute (NCI) held
an International Workshop on Screening for Breast Cancer, the evidence was
less clear for women ages 40-49. The upcoming conference will examine data
generated since the 1993 conference.
NCI Director Richard Klausner, M.D., said, "There is no universal
agreement on screening younger women, including who should be screened and at what
interval. Several, but not all, national and professional organizations in
the United States recommend that all women age 40 and older should be
screened at regular intervals. By holding this conference, we are
convening experts to once again look at the updated evidence."
The NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research which administers
the Consensus Development Conference Program, and NCI invited researchers
who have conducted randomized breast cancer screening trials, as well as
authors of other relevant studies, to present their findings at the
conference. Thirty-two presentations have been scheduled, including data
from American, Swedish, Canadian, and Scottish clinical trials.
Screening is a method of detecting a disease in its early stages
before symptoms occur. The procedures used in screening for cancer are not
diagnostic -- they generally do not confirm that cancer is present but
identify people in need of further testing. The goal of cancer screening
is to reduce the number of people dying from cancer. As a research agency,
NCI performs and funds cancer screening studies, but makes no formal
recommendations for cancer screening.
The NIH Consensus Development Conference Program, which was
established in 1977, draws on the most recent research knowledge to produce
consensus statements on important and controversial topics in medicine.
NIH Consensus Statements are intended to advance understanding of a
technology or issue and to be useful to both health professionals and the
public. The topic of the first NIH Consensus Development Conference, held
in September 1977, was breast cancer screening. That statement is out of
NIH Consensus Statements are prepared by broad-based, independent
panels of non-federal individuals knowledgeable in the field of medical science under
consideration. The makeup of each panel represents various sectors of
professional and community life and typically includes research
investigators, health care providers, methodologists, and a public
representative. The panel writes its statement based on: formal
presentations and open discussion during the first
day and a half; closed deliberations among the panel members during the
remainder of the second day and morning of the third; public discussion of
the draft statement on the morning of the third day. This statement is an
independent report of the consensus panel and is not a policy statement of
the NCI, NIH, or the federal government.
The final consensus statement will be presented at a press conference
at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, 1997 at Natcher auditorium.
A conference flyer and registration form, are available by calling
(301) 770-3153. The flyer contains the program agenda, including speakers
and topics, directions to the conference site, and area hotels. The same
information can be accessed on OMAR's home page, at
http://consensus.nih.gov, on the World Wide Web. At this address click on
Note to Reporters: The report of the 1993 International Workshop on
Screening for Breast Cancer was published in the Oct. 2, 1993 issue of the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute. If this edition of the Journal
is not available to you, you may contact the NCI Press Office at (301)
496-6641 to have a copy of the report mailed to you.
The Cancer Information Service provides a nationwide telephone service for
cancer patients and their families, the public, and health care
professionals. The toll-free number is 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-222-237);
services provided in English and Spanish. People with TTY equipment may
This document is available through the NCI's CancerNet services on the Web
(http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov), also on NCI's home page at
(http://rex.nci.nih.gov),and through Cancer Fax (dial 301-402-5874 from the
handset on your fax machine).