“At My Age, Do I Still Need To Have A Mammogram Every Year?”
A question that is frequently asked by older women (aged 75 and older) is whether or not it is necessary for them to continue undergoing annual mammography screenings. Many women are under the impression that their risk of developing breast cancer diminishes with age, or that breast cancer progresses at a slower rate and is less deadly in edlerly women. While there is some evidence that most breast cancers detected in older women are relatively slow growing and are more easily treated, a woman’s risk of breast cancer increases with age.
The Society of Breast Imaging holds the statement firm that none of the parameters of women undergoing annual screening mammograms suddenly change when a woman hits a certain age. According to the American College of Radiology, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States, and is a leading cause of death in women of all ages.
Like every medical decision, it is crucial for an elderly woman to discuss whether or not it is still necessary for her to have a mammogram with her physician who routinely examines her and has a full knowledge of all aspects of her health. In most cases, the recommendation stands firm that all women should receive an annual mammography screening. However, there may be some exceptions to this recommendation depending on the quality of a patients’ overall health and well-being.
To determine whether or not an elderly patient should receive an annual mammogram, physicians take the following factors into account: the patient’s risk of breast cancer, her life expectancy, and her personal preferences. The general rule of thumb is that if a patient has a life expectancy of at least 10 years, it is recommended that she continues to have a screening mammogram every year.