A Swedish study that stretched for nearly three decades showed that if screened regularly, 30 percent fewer women would die of breast cancer. Experts say a 30 percent reduction would translate to 15,000 to 20,000 lives saved each year.
Fran Levene knows that. She started getting mammograms at age 40.
"At 46 I got a surprise. The radiologist says we have to talk. I see something," she recalls.
Breast cancer. Fifteen years later, and now cancer free, she credits her annual mammogram with saving her life. the new study shows she's not alone.
The federal government had recommended women cut back on routine screenings.
In 2009, a government advisory board recommended against routine mammograms for women in their 40s and said women in their 50s only need mammograms every other year.
"I still go every year for my mammogram and I still get nervous every year," Levene said.
The Swedish study does not recommend when women should start getting mammograms or how often they should get one.