When Can I Stop Getting Mammograms?
If your annual mammogram is not something that you look forward to, you’re not alone. Most women, especially those who have had mammograms using older technology, dread this necessary test. They have found them to be stressful, uncomfortable, and generally inconvenient. As a result, many women ask when they can stop getting this screening. We’ll do our best to answer that question here.
What We Know About Breast Cancer
Research indicates that older women are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. About half of the diagnoses made each year involve patients over age 60. Of that percentage, 20% of diagnoses are made in women over age 70. The rate of new breast cancer diagnoses seems to decline after age 75, but only slightly. Data suggest that approximately 3% of women over age 75 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Of them, one in three will die from the disease.
Weighing the Decision
Based on this evidence, it may be difficult to say that 75 is the age at which every woman can stop having her annual mammogram. The fact is, some may benefit from continuing their screenings after that time. The decision is one to weigh carefully after a thorough discussion with a family doctor or gynecologist who is familiar with the patient’s unique circumstances. This consultation should also include a discussion of risks versus benefits.
The primary advantage of mammography is that this screening can detect breast cancer early. According to some studies, breast cancers that affect older women may be easier to treat than those often diagnosed in younger women. This could be because older women typically develop estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers. These cancers may be treated with hormone therapy instead of chemotherapy. Hormone therapy involves prescription medication that slows the body’s estrogen production.
Ultimately, the decision regarding mammography must be made by the individual after she has all of the information needed to determine what best suits her needs. The decision is not an easy one to make, but it eventually becomes necessary.
PURE Mammography on Long Island offers state-of-the-art 3D mammography screenings in a friendly, spa-like environment. We are committed to making your experience a positive one. To schedule your mammogram or breast ultrasound, call 631-652-3424.