Women Over 70 Risk Breast Cancer Overdiagnosis With Screening

9 Aug 2023 • A new study is raising fresh questions about the value of breast cancer screening in older women, finding that those 70 and older who underwent mammograms were more apt to be diagnosed with tumors posing no threat to their health than those who did not screen.

  • This study involved 54,635 women and aimed to assess overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening among older age groups. For women aged 70-74, the adjusted cumulative incidence of breast cancer was higher among screened women (6.1 cases per 100) compared to unscreened women (4.2 cases per 100).
  • About 31% of breast cancer cases in screened women were potentially overdiagnosed. Among women aged 75-84, cumulative incidence was also higher in screened women (4.9 cases per 100) compared to unscreened women (2.6 cases per 100), with 47% of cases potentially overdiagnosed.
  • For those aged 85 and older, cumulative incidence was 2.8 cases per 100 among screened women and 1.3 cases per 100 among unscreened women, with up to 54% of cases potentially overdiagnosed.

The findings suggest that continued breast cancer screening could lead to a higher incidence of breast cancer, highlighting potential overdiagnosis in older women diagnosed with breast cancer after screening. Balancing the harms of overdiagnosis with potential benefits remains an important consideration.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine | Read full story

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