A new study published online in the journal Radiology says that mammography-detected breast cancer is associated with a shift to earlier stage diagnosis in older women, subsequently reducing the rate of more advanced, difficult-to-treat cases.
Researchers said the findings lend support to regular mammography screening in women ages 75 and older.
AdvertisementThe value of mammography screening in older women has been subject to much debate in recent years. The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women age 75 and older as long as they are in good health, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend mammography screening in this age group, citing insufficient evidence to evaluate benefits and harms.
A lack of research is chiefly responsible for the divergent recommendations, according to Judith A. Malmgren, Ph.D., affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington's School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle.
"There are no studies on women age 75 and older, despite the fact that they are at the highest risk for breast cancer," she said.