"I don't see that this study helps inform a woman about whether she should start mammograms at age 40 or at age 50," said Dr. Michael LeFevre, co-vice-chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. One limitation of the study is that it was conducted at a single facility, a limitation that Destounis acknowledges. However, she said the women are ethnically diverse and from all income levels.
The study finding, LeFevre said, ''doesn't say anything about the probability of a woman dying in her 40s."
LeFevre also pointed out that "having an aunt die of breast cancer at age 85 is not the same as having a mother or sister with breast cancer at 42," when it comes to family history. When a woman discusses with her doctor when she should begin mammograms, LeFevre said that discussion should definitely include details about family history.
Destounis and some of her co-authors report being investigators for diagnostic imaging companies, including Siemens, Hologic and others. The study was not funded by outside sources, however, Destounis said.
Research presented at a medical conference is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
To learn more about mammograms, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Stamatia V. Destounis, M.D., radiologist and managing partner, Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, Rochester, N.Y.; Michael LeFevre, M.D., co-vice-chair, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and professor and vice chair, family and community medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia; Radiolo
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