Screening mammography for women 40-49 detects more cancers compared with older age groups

March 13, 2018, American Roentgen Ray Society

When compared to the screening population ages 50 and over, screening mammography in women ages 40-49 detects 19.3% additional cancers at the expense of an overall 1.5% increase in callbacks and 0.1% in increased biopsies, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.

The study to be presented by Abid Irshad of the Medical University of South Carolina examined the effectiveness of screening mammography between ages 40-49 in comparison to age groups 50-59 and 60-69. More than 41,000 screening mammography exams were examined for callbacks and recall rate, biopsies performed, cancers detected, and sensitivity and specificity of screening mammography.

Overall, 41,028 were performed with 5,196 callbacks (12.7% recall rate), 1,164 biopsies, and 326 cancers detected. Women ages 40-49 had 8,913 mammograms, 1,518 callbacks (17% recall rate), 306 biopsies, and 52 cancers detected. Women ages 50-59 had 13,288 mammograms, 1,659 callbacks (12.5% recall rate), 371 biopsies, and 103 cancers detected, while women ages 60-69 had 12,119 mammograms, 1,239 callbacks (10.2% recall rate), 302 biopsies and 89 cancers detected. Overall, the women ages 50 and over had a total of 31,385 mammograms, 3,504 callbacks (11.2% recall rate), 836 biopsies, and 270 cancers detected. By adding the women ages 40-49 to the screening population of 50 and over, the overall callback rate increased 1.5%, the rate increased 0.1% and 19.3% more cancers were detected.

The study results showed that there was a higher number of callbacks among women ages 40-49 compared to women ages 50-59 (17% compared with 12.5%) and to women ages 60-69 (17% compared with 10.2%). There was also a lower positive biopsy rate among women ages 40-49 compared with women over 50. The number of cancers detected in ages 40-49 was not significantly different from 50-59 or 60-69.

Explore further: Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography

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