Women prefer getting mammograms every year

November 21, 2017, Radiological Society of North America

Women prefer to get their mammograms every year, instead of every two years, according to a new study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Women understand that yearly have been shown to save lives and do not consider previously reported 'harms' to be as important as getting screened," said study author Ghizlane Bouzghar, M.D., chief radiology resident at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

For years, the standard recommendation among most medical groups was that at average risk of cancer undergo annually beginning at age 40. However, in 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a controversial recommendation that women at average risk be screened biennially, or every two years, beginning at age 50. This recommendation, reaffirmed in 2016, was based in part on the "harms" associated with screening mammography.

These "harms," as defined by the USPSTF, include diagnosis and treatment of noninvasive and invasive breast cancers that would otherwise not have become a threat to a woman's health and the unnecessary biopsies and associated anxieties resulting from false-positive results.

Others argue that while reducing over-diagnosis and false positives are a priority, the benefits of early detection far outweigh the negative factors associated with the perceived harms. Absent from the debate has been one notable opinion: that of the women being screened.

"The USPSTF associates annual screening mammography with 'harm' and recommends biennial screening mammography instead," Dr. Bouzghar said. "However, there is no study to date that looked at women's preference regarding annual versus biennial screening mammography, and whether women think that biennial screening causes less, equal or more anxiety."

Dr. Bouzghar and colleagues at Einstein set out to determine whether women preferred annual or biennial screening and to investigate whether or not reported harms of mammography influenced this preference.

The research team surveyed 731 women (mean age 59) undergoing screening and diagnostic mammograms at Einstein from December 2016 to February 2017. Women were asked whether an abnormal mammogram or breast biopsy causes emotional harm, whether screening every two years was associated with less or more anxiety, and whether they preferred to have a every other year or every year.

Variables such as the patient's age, race, family and personal history of breast cancer, prior biopsies and abnormal mammograms, and underlying anxiety disorder were also included.

Of the women surveyed, 71 percent preferred getting screened every year. A family history of and prior breast biopsy were the only two variables to have an additional positive influence on annual screening preference.

"Many women are much better educated about the value of screening mammography than they are given credit for," Dr. Bouzghar said. "I also think that some of the USPSTF's concerns about the 'harms' were somewhat paternalistic, and in 2017 women are more empowered about many things, including their healthcare."

Explore further: Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

Related Stories

Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

August 21, 2017
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result ...

Expert explains the latest guidelines for mammograms

January 20, 2016
The USPSTF has issued another set of recommendations for breast cancer screening. What are they?

Study examines outcomes of screening mammography for age, breast density, hormone therapy

March 18, 2013
A study that compared the benefits and harms of the frequency of screening mammography to age, breast density and postmenopausal use of hormone therapy (HT) suggests that woman ages 50 to 74 years who undergo biennial screenings ...

Breast density and risk may be useful for guiding mammography screening frequency

August 22, 2016
Women between the ages of 50 and 74 may benefit from more or less frequent mammography screening than is generally recommended, depending on breast density and risk. For average-risk women with lower breast density, which ...

More than 85 percent of surgeons disregard USPSTF breast screening recommendation

April 21, 2015
The vast majority of surgeons continue to recommend that women 40 years old or older with an average risk for breast cancer be screened annually for the disease, despite a 2009

Mammo outcomes improve when docs compare prior screenings

November 3, 2016
The recall rate of screening mammography is reduced when radiologists compare with more than one prior mammogram, a study published in the October 2016 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology said.

Recommended for you

New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials

December 13, 2018
A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports.

Surgery unnecessary for many prostate cancer patients

December 13, 2018
Otherwise healthy men with advanced prostate cancer may benefit greatly from surgery, but many with this diagnosis have no need for it. These conclusions were reached by researchers after following a large group of Scandinavian ...

Combining three treatment strategies may significantly improve melanoma treatment

December 12, 2018
A study by a team led by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigator finds evidence that combining three advanced treatment strategies for malignant melanoma—molecular targeted therapy, immune checkpoint blockade ...

Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

December 12, 2018
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth—this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel's Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, ...

Researchers use computer model to predict prostate cancer progression

December 12, 2018
An international team of cancer researchers from Denmark and Germany have used cancer patient data to develop a computer model that can predict the progression of prostate cancer. The model is currently being implemented ...

An integrated approach to finding new treatments for breast cancer

December 12, 2018
Unraveling the complexity of cancer biology can lead to the identification new molecules involved in breast cancer and prompt new avenues for drug development. And proteogenomics, an integrated, multipronged approach, seems ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.