Women 75 and older don’t benefit from screening mammograms

Screening mammography is not beneficial for women 75 years and older, according to new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Xabier Garcia-De-Albeniz, MD, PhD, with the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues analyzed Medicare claims data on more than 1 million women ages 70 to 84 who received a mammogram from 2000 to 2008. Each individual had a life expectancy of at least 10 years with no previous breast cancer diagnosis.

In women ages 70 to 74, the team determined that the benefits of screening offset the potential risks, which included overdiagnosis, overtreatment and possible anxiety related to being diagnosed with breast cancer. But in those 75 to 85 years, screening did not “substantially” reduce a woman’s risk of dying from the disease, Reuters reported Tuesday, Feb. 24.

"A lot of women over 75 and 80 are receiving mammograms," Garcia-De-Albeniz said to the news outlet. He added that this study should prompt further research into understanding breast cancer in older populations as well as treatments personalized for women in this age group.

Read the entire story in Reuters below.