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Radiology. 1995 Jan;194(1):193-7.

Clinical efficacy of mammographic screening in the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.



To compare mammographic screening results for women aged 65 years and older (elderly group) with those for women aged 50-64 years (younger group).


Mammography was performed in 32,140 women aged 50 years and older (10,914 elderly, 21,226 younger). Parameters studied included demographic data, screening interpretations, disposition of abnormal interpretations, results of biopsies, and characteristics of breast cancers.


The cancer detection rate is substantially higher in elderly women (9.2 per 1,000 women) than in younger women (5.7 per 1,000 women). The median size of cancers in elderly women is 11 mm (vs 12 mm in younger women). Axillary nodal status is 93% node negative in elderly women (vs 88% node negative in younger women). Cancer stage is earlier in elderly women than it is in younger women (84% stage 0 or 1 vs 75% stage 0 or 1).


Mammographic screening is at least as effective in detecting cancers for which there is a favorable prognosis in women aged 65 years and older as it is in women aged 50-64 years. Because the efficacy of screening in younger-group women has already been proved, it may be inferred that screening also benefits elderly-group women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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