Women Over 75 May Benefit From Mammograms
Study says early-stage cancer detection is key, but another expert says it may lead to 'overtreatment'
However, the study was only able to show a link between mammography and improved survival. It wasn't able to prove that mammography was directly linked to the increased survival.
In addition, Liefers argued that the conclusion that fewer women died of breast cancer if it was detected by mammography may not be accurate. Other factors may play in to the survival besides the screening itself, he said. For instance, patient-detected tumors may be more aggressive than mammography-detected tumors.
Findings that do favor screening for older women include the decrease in advanced cancers and the increase in early cancer detection, Liefers said.
The take-home message, according to Malmgren, is for women 75 and over to get a mammogram every other year. That advice only holds true if women have a life expectancy of five years or more, though.
Liefers said that women should ''discuss their individual risk of breast cancer and competing risks of mortality with their doctor," before making a decision on whether or not to get a mammogram.