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Older women still need mammograms

Created date

March 2nd, 2016
Doctor evaluating x-ray
Doctor evaluating x-ray

Some cancer screening tests become less necessary as you age, but if you think you are too old to keep getting an annual mammogram, think again.

Breast cancer is second in line behind skin cancer when it comes to the most common type in women, and except for lung cancer, kills the most women in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mammography has been shown to prevent deaths from breast cancer, but most of the research supporting that significant fact has focused on women up to age 74. 

Now, scientists from Florida Atlantic University have shown that women over 74 also have a lower risk of death if they receive annual mammograms. The researchers analyzed claims-based data from the records of over 64,000 women ages 69 and up. They found that the ten-year mortality rate from breast cancer was significantly less among women ages 75 to 84 who had annual mammograms when compared to women who had biennial, irregular, or no mammograms. 

The researchers say more research is needed. Women should discuss their need for mammograms and other screenings with their doctors.