HealthDay News — Women aged 75 years and older may still benefit from routine mammograms, according to researchers.

“Mammography-detected breast cancer in women 75 years and older was diagnosed at an earlier stage, required less treatment, and had better disease-specific survival than patient- or physician-detected breast cancer,” wrote Judith Malmgren, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues wrote in Radiology.

After studying data from a registry of female patients with breast cancer, the investigators found more than 1,100 women aged older than 75 years diagnosed with early- to late-stage breast cancer from 1990 to 2011.

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The detection of cancers with mammography increased over time during the study, from 49% to 70%. Most mammography-detected cancers were in the early stage, whereas those found by doctors and patients were more likely to be advanced. Those detected by mammography were more likely to need less aggressive treatments as well.

Breast cancer survival was better in female patients whose cancer was detected by mammography, with 97% alive five years later, reported the researchers. In comparison, 87% of those with invasive cancers found by their doctor or themselves were alive at the five-year mark.

“These findings indicate that the same benefits of mammography detection observed in younger women extend to older women,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Malmgren J et al. Radiology. 2014; doi: