The article on breast cancer screening (“Jewish Women Should Get Mammograms at 40, Experts Say. Here’s Why,” Oct. 6) offered very clear advice on the importance of a risk assessment at age 25 and screening mammography for women starting at age 40 and continuing up to age 74, as well as earlier screening for women at high risk.
Indications for mammography screening in women over the age of 74 are not as clear. Reports from the National Cancer Institute indicate that women age 70 and over have a one in 24 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, evidence is insufficient to determine the balance of benefits and harms of screening mammography in women age 75 years and older. However, the American Cancer Society recommends that for women over age 74, every other year mammography screening should be carried out until life expectancy is less than 10 years.
Because there is a risk of overdiagnosis by mammography in older women, the screening decision should be based on the woman’s overall health, functional status and personal preference.
Beryl Rosenstein, M.D., Pikesville