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Senior Women Also Benefit from Mammography Screening

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 03 Dec 2018
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Image: A new study claims that mammograms in women over 75 may still have value (Photo courtesy of Corbis).
Image: A new study claims that mammograms in women over 75 may still have value (Photo courtesy of Corbis).
Women aged 75 years and older should continue getting mammograms because of the comparatively high incidence of breast cancer found in this age group, claims a new study.

Researchers at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (Rochester, NY, USA) conducted a study that analyzed data from 763,256 screening mammography exams performed between 2007 and 2017, with screening-detected cancer diagnosed in 3,944 patients. Further analysis was performed to identify the number and type of cancers diagnosed among women 75 years of age and older (average age 80.4 years), which comprised 10% of the study cohort.

The results revealed 645 malignancies diagnosed in 616 patients in the age group, a cancer detection rate of 8.4 per 1,000 exams; 82% of the malignancies diagnosed were invasive cancers, of which 63% were grade 2 or 3. In all, 98% of the cancers found were surgically treatable, and positive lymph nodes were reported at surgical excision in seven percent of the patients; but 17 cancers were not surgically treated, due to advanced patient age or overall degraded patient health. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), held during November 2018 in Chicago (IL, USA).

“Ongoing debate exists regarding the age to cease screening mammography. Our findings provide important data demonstrating that there is value in screening women over 75 because there is a considerable incidence of breast cancer,” said lead author radiologist Stamatia Destounis, MD. “The benefits of screening yearly after age 75 continue to outweigh any minimal risk of additional diagnostic testing. Most of the tumors found in this age group were invasive, and almost all of these patients underwent surgery.”

The frequency at which women should receive screening mammography remains controversial in the United States. In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated their breast cancer screening guidelines to recommend routine biennial mammography for women ages 50-74 years, based on modeling evidence suggesting that the harms of frequent screening outweigh the small estimated added benefit of annual screening. In contrast, he American Cancer Society recommends annual screening for women 40 years of age and older.

Related Links:
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care

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