Even though there is an established age for when should the women start doing mammograms, when should they stop is still questionable. Some experts believe that as women grow older, the risk of cancer and other diseases increases, so the mammograms won’t do much of a difference. But the guidelines of the cancer society disagree. According to them, women should do mammograms until they have a minimum 10 years life expectancy and they are still healthy.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, there is not enough information whether women over 75 should continue to do mammograms or not. Dr. Fattaneh Tavassoli from the Yale University said that nowadays people try to stay healthy so there are a lot of cases of 80 year olds that are as healthy as 60 year olds. She also said that the mammogram issue needs to be further analyzed in order for the older women to have clear information on the subject.
Apparently, the medical center from Yale has been diagnosing more patients of 90 years old or older than ever. More cases are now registered, as in 1990s there was one a year and since 2000 about eight are diagnosed every year. Most of the cases were detected by the patients or by their doctors, not by mammograms.
As 26% of the deaths caused by breast cancer every year belong to patients over 74, experts wonder how many of those cases could be avoided. When women get older, they stop doing mammograms or they decrease the number of check-ups. According to experts, mammograms pose some risks for the older women. For example, after the age of 68, if the women have suffered from some disease, doing the mammograms would only outweigh the benefits. These women should discuss with their doctors about the risks of mammograms on their health. The mammograms are more recommended to the healthy women over 70 years old.
The new guidelines for screening mammography were published at the end of October 2015, by the American Cancer Society. This is the first time in a decade that they were changed and suggest that instead of starting doing the mammograms at 40 years old, women should start around 44 years old. The guidelines conclude that as long as they are healthy, women should do mammograms until they have a minimum 10 years life expectancy.
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