TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women 75 and older may still benefit from routine mammograms, according to new research.
However, not everyone agrees with this study's conclusions.
"Mammography detects breast cancer early, when it's more treatable and the risk of death is very low," said study researcher Judith Malmgren, an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle.
"If it's not detected by a mammogram and it's detected by the physician or the patients, women are more likely to have advanced stage disease and there is a higher risk of death," she said.
The study findings do make an important argument that age alone is not a reason to abandon mammography, said Dr. Gerrit-Jan Liefers, a surgical oncologist at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Liefers was not involved with the current research, but he did review the study's findings.
But, he added, the findings don't convince him that older women need routine screening.
In fact, Liefers presented preliminary findings from a study he conducted that found mammograms in women 70 and older might do more harm than good at the European Breast Cancer Conference earlier this year. He found that the screenings don't decrease the number of advanced breast cancer cases, but do lead to ''overtreatment," putting some at risk of harmful side effects.
Guidelines from professional organizations don't agree on routine mammograms for older women either. The American Cancer Society recommends that women continue to have mammograms annually as long as they remain in good health.
However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts in prevention and evidenc
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