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Mammograms Can Benefit Older Women: Study

For women who have diligently reported for annual mammograms throughout their middle years, hitting the age of 75 can be a welcomed change of pace. After all, this is the age when most doctors say the need to continue screening for breast cancer is no longer a concern. A recent study, however, has found that women can still benefit from screening even in their later years.

Continued mammogram screenings in later life can still lead to early detection of this potentially fatal disease. When breast cancer is found early, the chances of successful treatment, even in older years, is very strong. Since many women live well beyond the age of 75, researchers say the screenings can still be considered highly valuable.

Researchers who dove into the topic of later life mammograms did stop short of recommending continued screening for all women. They found the biggest benefits were found for women who were healthy and free of any other life-limiting conditions. For those who are generally healthy, however, benefits still exist for continued screening.

While mammograms are not necessarily recommended across the board for older women, there are benefits to be had. With that in mind, women who are concerned about the potential for breast cancer may want to discuss continued screening with their healthcare providers, the research suggests.

Breast cancer strikes an estimated 246,000 American women each year. About 40,000 women die from the disease annually. Routine screening is recommended for all women with mammograms generally recommended yearly starting around the age of 40 or so. Women who are at higher risk for the disease may find screening recommendations start earlier and may last longer.

Women who are concerned about breast cancer are urged to speak with their doctors to access their personal risks for the disease. It is estimated that about 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer over their course of their lifetimes.

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