For Older Women, Missed Mammograms Tied to Worse Breast Cancer Outcomes

powered by healthline

Average Ratings

Study links long gap from last screening, or no screening at all, to more advanced disease and death

SUNDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Older women diagnosed with breast cancer years after their last mammogram, and those who never had a mammogram, have an increased risk of dying from their cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from about 8,600 women in the United States who were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The investigators found that 23 percent of women who had their last mammogram five or more years before being diagnosed with breast cancer had advanced cancer, compared with 20 percent of those who had a mammogram six months to a year before their diagnosis.

This is a statistically significant difference that could affect large numbers of women, according to the researchers.

The study also found that a longer interval between a mammogram and breast cancer diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of dying from breast cancer among women aged 75 and older.

In this age group, those who were diagnosed five or more years after their last mammogram or had never had a mammogram were three times more likely to die from breast cancer than those who had a mammogram six months to a year before their diagnosis.

These associations were not found in younger women, according to the study scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), taking place April 6 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

"I am not sure why we are seeing these results particularly for older women. Tumors of younger women were more likely to be a little more unfavorable overall," Dr. Michael Simon, leader of the breast multidisciplinary team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, said in an AACR news release.

"It is possible that the differences in the relationship between screening interval and [death] in older versus younger women may be related to the more aggressive nature of the tumors in younger women, which might obliterate the effects of more screening. Other reasons may include differences in cancer treatment, information that was not available for this [group] of women," Simon added.

The study did not prove a cause-and effect relationship between gaps in mammograms and worse breast cancer results. Because it was presented at a medical meeting, data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about mammograms.


-- Robert Preidt
Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Article from
Top of page
General Drug Tools
General Drug Tools view all tools
Tools for
Healthy Living
Tools for Healthy Living view all tools
Search Tools
Search Tools view all tools
Insurance Plan Tools
Insurance Plan Tools view all tools

What is a reference number?

When you register on this site, you are assigned a reference number. This number contains your profile information and helps UnitedHealthcare identify you when you come back to the site.

If you searched for a plan on this site in a previous session, you might already have a reference number. This number will contain any information you saved about plans and prescription drugs. To use that reference number, click on the "Change or view saved information" link below.

You can retrieve information from previous visits to this site, such as saved drug lists and Plan Selector information.