Who Needs Screening?

March 1, 2021

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Anchor lead: If you’ve survived breast cancer, how long should you continue annual screening mammography? Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’ve survived breast cancer and are now in your 70s or beyond, do you still need to have screening mammography? That question was examined in a recent study, and William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says it heralds good news.

Nelson: There’s lots of women surviving breast cancer. So the number of women who are breast cancer survivors reaching these ages are increasing and we need to have an approach to take care of them as best as possible.  :09

Nelson says specific recommendations are based on individual factors.

Nelson: If your life expectancy is greater than ten years, they argue that mammography is probably a good idea. That you might benefit from screening and early detection. In the middle between five and ten years then it’s something that you should think about, talk about, engage in collaborative decision making with your physician.  :17

Nelson says the lifetime risk for developing a second breast cancer can be up to 15%, so careful examination of the risks and benefits of screening is a good idea. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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