A study presented at the 2016 Radiological Society of North America annual conference concludes that there is no evidence to cease mammography screenings after age 75.
The findings are based on cancer detection rates observed in the nearly 7 million mammograms the researchers looked at as part of the National Mammography Database. The NMD receives clinical practice data including self-reported demographics, clinical findings, screening mammography interpretation and biopsy results.
As reported in an RSNA news release, researchers found a mean cancer detection rate of 3.74 per 1,000 patients. Based on increasing age from 40 to 90 years old, the performance metrics demonstrated a gradual upward trend. The study calculated cancer detection rate, recall rate and positive predictive values for biopsy recommended and biopsy performed.
“Our study suggests that there is no clear age cut-point to inform the decision when to stop screening,” said Cindy Lee, M.D., a professor at The University of California San Francisco and co-author of the research. “Screening mammography performance metrics in women aged 75-90 years does not provide evidence for age-based mammography cessation, but rather adds support for guidelines that encourage screening decisions based on individual patient values, comorbidities and health status.”