When Can I Stop Getting My Mammograms?
This is a question that comes up often from women of various ages. Many look forward to the day when you do not need mammograms anymore. Because the risk of breast cancer is lifelong, and actually increases with age, there isn’t a “stop date” on annual screening mammograms. Mammography has been shown in multiple studies to be beneficial to women of all ages including women older than 70 years of age. The studies show that the cancers are detected at smaller size with screening mammography in this age group when compared with women not undergoing screening. This study also reported the benefit of improved sensitivity and specificity of mammography in older women, so in short, it is an even better test for screening in older women.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) guides us. Their guidelines show no defined age limit for mammography being beneficial to women. The ACR suggests annual screening mammography be considered as long as a woman is of good health and willing to undergo additional testing like breast ultrasound or biopsy if an abnormality were to be detected by mammography. So, talk things over with your healthcare provider. Know that if you are of good health, our goal is to keep you that way. If you have poor health or temporarily have poor health, we will see you for your screening mammogram as soon as you are well.
We hope you will not see mammography as a chore to dread. Rather, we encourage you to consider it a privilege – an opportunity with health benefits. It’s one way to care for yourself, being proactive and potentially catching something before it catches you. You are the superstar overseeing your best possible health. We’re just here to help. So come in for your annual mammogram – and find a facility that makes you feel safe and welcome, so you’ll want to keep coming back. We’d be happy to have you.
Originally published 9/3/13 on mammographykc.com.