Mammograms Save Lives of Older Women
Mammograms every two years for older women have more benefit than harm, according to a European study.
The analysis was led by researchers from Queen Mary, University of London. Experts found that for every 1,000 women between the ages of 50 and 68 or 69 who underwent mammograms every two years, between seven and nine lives would be saved. Four women would be over diagnosed.
Over diagnosis means that women either underwent unnecessary tests and/or surgery for breast cancer that would probably have never caused any harm in a woman’s lifetime.
Stephen Duffy, a professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary, University of London, said in a statement that “it is good news that lives saved by screening outweigh over-diagnosed cases by a factor of two to one.”
Although the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has caused controversy with its recommendation against routine screening of women between 40 and 50, its recommendations for women over 50 are in line with the British study: one routine mammogram every two years.
Dr Eugenio Paci, co-author of the recent study, said, “By weighing up the pros and cons of breast cancer screening programmes we hope to ensure that women are fully aware of the chief benefits and harms and can make a fully informed choice when they decide whether or not they wish…screening.” Paci is Director of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute in Florence, Italy.
The study was published in the “Journal of Medical Screening.”