Feature | October 01, 2014

Study Reports Mammography Benefits Women Over 75

August 14, 2014 — Mammography-detected breast cancer is associated with a shift to earlier stage diagnosis in older women, subsequently reducing the rate of more advanced, difficult-to-treat cases, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said the findings lend support to regular mammography screening in women ages 75 and older.

The value of mammography screening in older women has been subject to much debate in recent years. The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women age 75 and older as long as they are in good health, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend mammography screening in this age group, citing insufficient evidence to evaluate benefits and harms.

A lack of research is chiefly responsible for the divergent recommendations, according to Judith A. Malmgren, Ph.D., affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle. “There are no studies on women age 75 and older, despite the fact that they are at the highest risk for breast cancer,” she said.

Malmgren and her research partner, Henry Kaplan, M.D., from the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, recently looked at the impact of mammography detection on older women by studying data from an institutional registry that includes more than 14,000 breast cancer cases with 1,600 patients over age 75.

The majority of mammography-detected cases were early stage, while physician- and patient-detected cancers were more likely to be advanced stage disease. Mammography-detected invasive breast cancer patients were more often treated with lumpectomy and radiation and had fewer mastectomies and less chemotherapy than patient- or physician-detected cases.

Mammography detection was associated with a 97 percent five-year disease-specific invasive cancer survival rate, compared with 87 percent for patient- or physician-detected invasive cancers.

“Mammography enables detection when breast cancer is at an early stage and is easier to treat with more tolerable options,” Malmgren said. “In this study, older women with mammography-detected invasive cancer had a 10 percent reduction in breast cancer disease-specific mortality after five years.”

The early detection provided by mammography is particularly important in older women, Malmgren noted, because they cannot easily tolerate the chemotherapy that is commonly used to treat more advanced breast cancers. “Longer life expectancies for women also increase the importance of early detection,” she said. “A 75-year-old woman today has a 13-year life expectancy. You only need five years of life expectancy to make mammography screening worthwhile.”

Malmgren acknowledged the potential costs of mammography, such as those associated with false-positive results, are an important consideration when weighing screening benefits. However, she said that false-positive findings are less common in older women.

“It’s easy to detect a cancer earlier in older women because breast density is not an issue,” Malmgren said. “And mammography is not expensive, so doing it every other year would not add a lot of cost to healthcare.”

The researchers hope the study results help women and their physicians make better-informed decisions about mammography, ultimately leading to lower mortality rates. “Breast cancer survival in younger women has improved dramatically over last 20 years, but that improvement has not been seen in older women,” Malmgren concluded.

For more information: www.radiology.rsna.org

Related Content

Illinois Governor Approves State Breast Density Reporting Bill Into Law
News | Breast Density | August 13, 2018
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner approved the Illinois Breast Density Reporting Law (Public Act 100-0749) on Aug. 10, 2018...
PET Tracer Identifies Estrogen Receptor Expression Differences in Breast Cancer Patients
News | PET Imaging | August 09, 2018
In metastatic breast cancer, prognosis and treatment is largely influenced by estrogen receptor (ER) expression of the...
iCAD Receives FDA Clearance of PowerLook Density Assessment for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis
Technology | Breast Density | August 08, 2018
iCAD announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of its latest artificial intelligence (AI) software...
Cardiac Imaging Reveals Roots of Preeclampsia Damage in Pregnant Women
News | Women's Health | August 07, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers say a heart imaging study of scores of pregnant women with the most severe and dangerous form...
Cardiac Monitoring a Higher Priority for High-Risk Breast Cancer Patients
News | Cardio-oncology | August 07, 2018
August 7, 2018 — While heart failure is an uncommon complication of...
Hologic Acquires Digital Specimen Radiography Company Faxitron Bioptics

VisionCT 3-D breast specimen-designated computed tomography (CT) system. Image courtesy of Faxitron Bioptics.

News | Breast Imaging | July 31, 2018
Hologic Inc. announced it has completed the acquisition of Faxitron Bioptics, a privately-held leader in digital...
Konica Minolta Hosting Lunch and Learn at 23rd Annual Mammography Meeting in Santa Fe
News | Breast Imaging | July 31, 2018
Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. will sponsor a lunch and learn featuring its Exa Mammo platform during the 23rd...
FDA Approves New Tomosynthesis Quality Control Tests for ACR Digital Mammography QC Manual
News | Mammography | July 30, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the American College of Radiology’s (ACR’s) amendment to...
The Magtrace and Sentimag Magnetic Localization System uses magnetic detection during sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures to identify specific lymph nodes, known as sentinel lymph nodes, for surgical removal. The FDA granted approval of the Sentimag System to Endomagnetics Inc.

The  Endomagnetics' Magtrace and Sentimag Magnetic Localization System uses magnetic detection during sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures to identify specific lymph nodes, known as sentinel lymph nodes, for surgical removal.

Technology | Women's Health | July 24, 2018
July 24, 2018 — The U.S.
Overlay Init