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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le cancer du sein, parlons-en !

by Maud Dugrand

Let’s Talk About Breast Cancer

Translated Monday 8 October 2007, by Jonathan Pierrel

Health sector. A public awareness campaign has been launched throughout the month of October in France.

Breast cancer screening should be more effective now thanks to digital screening technology for mammograms, which is faster and, until now has only been available for individual tests. This is the very least we can expect from the authorities which offer free mammogram screening every two years to women aged between 50 and 74.

Supported by Roselyne Bachelot, French Minister of Health, and all women ministers in the government, the latest awareness campaign of the National Institute for Cancer Research (Institut national du cancer – INCA) entitled "Let’s talk about breast cancer" and the “Pink Ribbon” campaign launched on 3 October, will provide opportunities for many events throughout October (www.cancerdusein.org).

More than two million women were screened in France in 2006. This represents 49% of women aged between 50 and 74. Three thousand lives could be saved each year if all women between 50 and 74 were to undergo screening. The latter can save women from “a severe and invasive cancer,” says Dominique Maraninchi, president of INCA. Even though the death rate for breast cancer has remained stable on the whole and that there even seem to be a decrease (down 3.7% between 2000 and 2004), there is still a problem. Why has this disease doubled in twenty years? With an increase from 21,000 new cases in 1980 to 42,000 cases in 2000, breast cancer is the main cause of death for women in France, as in other Western countries. Screening is a priority but it should be supported by independent studies looking into the reasons for such a surge.

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