Mammograms can save lives, but many women often think they’re too old to have them.
A recent study looking at almost 7 million mammograms from 39 states found nearly 4 breast cancers for every 1,000 patients that were screened.
The seven-year study period found mammograms are still worthwhile after age 70, and that women up to age 90 may still benefit from having them.
Both breast cancer and mortality rates increase as women get older.
Every year roughly 30 percent of breast cancer deaths are women who were diagnosed after the age of 70. Many of these deaths could be avoided.
As you age, the disease grows slower and women’s breasts become less dense. This makes cancer easier to detect.
- Make sure to choose a FDA certified mammogram facility. This means they meet certain standards.
- Be aware that mammograms aren’t always accurate. You may be recalled back for more testing.
- Always perform self-breast exams in addition to breast cancer screenings. Report any lumps or changes to your doctor.
- The decision to stop mammograms should be based on your overall health status and estimated longevity. Breast cancer screening should be a priority as long as there is value from early detection.
If a woman has serious, chronic conditions with only a few remaining years to live, she may not benefit from continued breast cancer screenings.
I encourage all women to talk to their doctor about mammograms and how often they should have them.