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Biennial mammograms best after 50, even for women with dense breasts
Date:3/19/2013

at higher risk of disease may be more willing than those at lower risk to accept such potential harms of screening."

False positives mean that women without cancer are called back for more testing, including biopsies, ultrasounds and more mammograms.

"For women 50 to 74 years old with dense breasts who are cancer free, we estimated that more than half will be recalled for additional mammography at least once over the course of 10 years of annual screening," said study co-author Rebecca A. Hubbard, PhD, an assistant investigator at Group Health Research Institute who is also at the University of Washington School of Public Health. "Screening every other year decreases this risk by about a third. The risk of false-positive results is even higher for women who begin annual screening at age 40."

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated its breast cancer screening guidelines in 2009, it advised women to make individual decisions with their doctor. But for average-risk women, these guidelines advised screening mammography every two years for women ages 50 to 74. The guidelines recommended that women in their 40s consider their personal values regarding the benefits and harms and then decide when to begin regular screening. The Task Force deemed evidence on risk factors other than age to be weak at that point.

The new study was designed to explore other risk factors for breast cancer, beyond age. Extremely dense breasts and taking combination hormone therapy (with estrogen and progestin, although not with estrogen alone) had already been shown to raise women's rates of advanced-stage or large tumors. The new study adds to this evidence by showing regardless of breast density or hormone use, screening every other year did not raise the likelihood of detecting advanced-stage or large tumors, compared to yearly screening.

Approximately 12 to 15 percent of women in their 40s and approximately 3 to 6 percent of those ag
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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
elizabeth.fernandez@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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Biennial mammograms best after 50, even for women with dense breasts
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