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Mammography may be beneficial to all women, regardless of age
Date:4/21/2008

HOUSTON - According to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, mammography, the gold-standard for breast cancer screening and early detection, has shown to significantly reduce the risk of being diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in women over the age of 80, an age group currently without clear guidelines recommending regular screenings.

The study, published online today (April 21) in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), is the first to specifically assess the screening modality in women older than 80. It's estimated that approximately 17 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women older than 80, and only about one-fifth of women in this age group have routine mammograms.

According to the study's senior author, Gildy Babiera, M.D., the need for this study evolved as she began to notice a growing number of women who were 80-years-old and older in her clinic.

"With an increasing number of people living longer, there's a real dilemma regarding how best to manage the care of breast cancer patients 80 years of age and older, taking into account both their comorbidities and their account their quality of life," said Babiera, associate professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology.

This research follows other M. D. Anderson studies looking at complications associated with surgery and treatment tolerability in elderly patients.

The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammography screening for women starting at age 40 with no age limit for women in good health. Other organizations that recommend screening guidelines differ both in age ceilings as well as how often mammograms should be conducted in older women.

Babiera, Brian Badgwell, M.D., a fellow in M. D. Anderson's Department of Surgical Oncology, and their colleagues used information from the National Cancer Institute SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database, the authoritative s
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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