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RSNA 2018: Mammography Screening Beyond Age 75

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Key Points

  • A total of 645 malignancies were diagnosed in 616 patients, for a cancer rate of 8.4 detections per 1,000 exams in the 75 and older age group.
  • 82% of the malignancies diagnosed were invasive cancers, of which 63% were grade 2 or 3.
  • 98% of the cancers found were able to be treated surgically.

Women aged 75 years and older may benefit from continued screening mammograms because of the comparatively high incidence of breast cancer found in this age group, according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) (Abstract SSA01-04).

“Ongoing debate exists regarding the age to cease screening mammography,” said Stamatia V. Destounis, MD, radiologist at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, in a statement. “Our findings provide important data demonstrating that there is value in screening women over 75 because there is a considerable incidence of breast cancer.”

For the study, Dr. Destounis and colleagues analyzed data from 763,256 screening mammography exams at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care between 2007 and 2017. Screening-detected cancer was diagnosed in 3,944 patients. Further analysis was performed to identify the number and type of cancers diagnosed among women aged 75 years and older.

There were 76,885 patients (10%) aged 75 and older included in the study. The average age of the patients was 80.4 years.

Study Findings

A total of 645 malignancies were diagnosed in 616 patients, for a cancer rate of 8.4 detections per 1,000 exams in the 75 and older age group.

“For the relatively small percentage of our screening population that was composed of women 75 and older, the patients diagnosed in this population made up 16% of all patients diagnosed with screening-detected cancers,” Dr. Destounis said.

Researchers also found that 82% of the malignancies diagnosed were invasive cancers, of which 63% were grade 2 or 3. Ninety-eight percent of the cancers found were able to be treated surgically. Positive lymph nodes were reported at surgical excision in 7% of the patients. Seventeen cancers were not surgically treated due to advanced patient age or overall degraded patient health.

“Most of the tumors found in this age group were invasive, and almost all of these patients—98%—underwent surgery,” Dr. Destounis said.

Dr. Destounis advises women over 75 who are in relatively good health to continue routine screenings.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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