Dr. Michael Simon presents research at AACR about older women, need for mammography screening
Monday, April 08, 2013
Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H., leader of the Breast Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, presented research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington D.C. on older women and their greater likelihood of dying from breast cancer if they delay receiving a mammogram screening.
In an adjusted analysis, Dr. Simon and his fellow researchers found a longer time interval between mammogram and diagnosis
was associated with a significantly increased risk for breast cancer mortality, and that this relationship was especially strong for women aged 75 or older at diagnosis, suggesting a role for continued mammography screening among older women.
Specifically, women aged 75 and older who had an interval of between two and five years between their last mammogram and diagnosis had an almost two-fold increase in risk of death from breast cancer.
Women in the same age group who had an interval of five years or more between their last mammogram and diagnosis -- or who had never had a mammogram -- had a threefold greater risk for death from breast cancer compared with women who had an interval of six months to a year between mammogram and diagnosis.
An interval of five or more years between a woman’s last mammogram and breast cancer diagnosis was also associated with advanced-stage disease in 23 percent of women compared with 20 percent of women with an interval of less than one year, a statistically significant difference, which may affect large numbers of women.
To evaluate whether time between mammograms affected breast cancer mortality, Dr. Simon and his fellow researchers analyzed data from 9,057 women in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study or clinical trial who had been diagnosed with breast cancer during a 12.2-year follow-up.
According to Dr. Simon, physicians should discuss the risks and benefits of mammography with older patients and encourage them to continue mammography screening.
“Our findings suggest that regular mammography should be continued for older women every one or two years,” he said. “However, as with younger women, mammography screening should be considered in light of the overall health of the individual woman.”
More from Dr. Simon on his research