St. Louis surgeon applauds study showing fewer deaths due to breast cancer

Fred Bodimer
February 12, 2019 - 11:59 am

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Deaths from breast cancer have fallen sharply in the United States since the late 1980s.

The mortality rate is falling by as much as 58-percent since 1989, with more than a half million breast cancer deaths being avoided in the last thirty years. 

Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Andrea Behr with the SSM Health Medical Group says that's a reason to celebrate.

"This is largely due to improvements in both screening abnormalities, so we can catch breast cancer much earlier than expected, as well as better treatment options we now have," she told KMOX Health Editor Fred Bodimer.

In general, Dr. Behr says women should start screening mammograms at age 40 -- or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer.

"Although breast cancer incidents isn't changing drastically," she points out. "We do know that mammography has been proven to save lives from breast cancer, and mammograms are improving as we go along. Now, it's covered by all insurances to have 3-D mammography, which are more detailed."

She also credits the development of anti-hormone pills with the declining numbers and also improving treatment going forward.