Study Suggests Mammograms for Older Women Should Be Continued
A new study suggests the traditional cutoff age of 75 for women to cease getting mammograms may be ill-advised.
The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine study pushes back against stopping the cancer screening at age 75 for women, saying it is really an individual decision.
"It should be a discussion between a woman and her physician, because people are not only living longer, they are living better," Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey oncologist Kim Hirschfield says.
Hirschfield says 75 was an age range that was used in prior clinical trials.
There were very few women to participate who were over the age of 75, "but the most recent data included many women who were over the age of 75, even into their 80s, and that made an important difference in terms of seeing what the potential benefit could be for women in that age group."
The rule of thumb is that breast cancer is a disease of aging, and the older a woman gets, the more important it is for her to have a discussion with her physician to find out whether or not it makes sense for her to continue to get mammograms.
Hirschfield says continuing mammograms is all about the opportunity to keep women healthier, longer.
"Over the course of a woman's lifetime, the risk is about one in eight women will develop the disease."
She says the older a woman gets, the more important it is for her to talk about mammograms with her doctor.
"I think that an important point is that for older women who are getting mammograms that an abnormal mammogram would be more likely to be showing a breast cancer, whereas in a younger woman, it is more likely to be a finding that is not a breast cancer."