The benefits of mammography after 75 years. Women over the age of 75 who do not have regular breast cancer screenings would be at risk for higher mortality when diagnosed with cancer. This is shown in a US study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference in Washington, DC, April 6-10. Professor Michael Simon, a specialist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, analyzed data on 8,663 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) women diagnosed with breast cancer. In the analysis, the researchers found that a longer interval between the last mammogram and the diagnosis was associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer mortality among women aged 75 and over at the time of diagnosis.
For example, those elderly women who had an interval of five years or more between the last mammogram and the diagnosis, or women who had never had a mammogram, were three times more likely to die of breast cancer than those whose interval was six months to a year. These relationships were not found in younger women.
“I’m not sure why we see these results particularly in older women. Younger women’s tumors are more likely to be slightly worse overall. It is possible that these differences are related to a more aggressive nature of tumors than in younger women. Other explanations may come from different treatments or from information that is not available in this cohort, “According to him, doctors should discuss the risks and benefits of mammography with older women and encourage them to continue screening. For example, Pr Simon’s team proposes regular mammograms every one to two years. “But, as for younger women, this should be considered in terms of the general health status of each woman individually,” the study concludes.