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For over 50s, Every Two Years

Task Force Issues Mammogram Advice & Data

A new report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on the risks and benefits of mammograms for breast cancer detection recommends such screening every other year for women age 50 or older, but suggests that women in their 40s balance the statistically very small reduction in their risk of dying against such serious potential downsides as unnecessary biopsies and cancer treatments. The report noted the following rate of outcomes for every 1,000 women ages 40 to 74 who undergo such mammograms: eight cancer deaths prevented, 1,529 false positive results, 204 unnecessary breast biopsies, and 20 needless courses of treatment for tumors that were never life-threatening. The American Cancer Society and other medical groups continue to recommend annual screening for women over 40.

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