Research from The Lancet questions the benefit of women starting annual mammograms at age 40. New data from a large United Kingdom study of more than 160,000 women finds that mammogram screening in younger women may provide little benefit in terms of reducing breast cancer risk, while at the same time exposing women to more radiation and the possibility of false alarms. Overall, women in the 40s who received mammograms saw a small drop in breast cancer deaths, around 17 percent, a figure that was not statistically different from chance. Also, 23 percent of the women had at least one false alarm higher than the rate of 12 percent seen in women in their 50s. A related editorial says that it’s not clear that women in the 40s get a net benefit from mammogram screening because the potential harms may offset any benefit, and that women should decide individually whether they want the peace of mind from screening or the possibility of unnecessary radiation exposure from additional mammograms.
Source: ABC News