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June 28, 2000

Screening Mammography in Elderly Women

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(24):3202-3204. doi:10.1001/jama.283.24.3198

To the Editor: Dr Kerlikowske and colleagues1 neglect significant costs that entirely negate the small gain in life expectancy they report. Biennial screening mammography for a period of 10 years requires at least 5 visits to the mammography facility. Given the mobility constraints in the population in question, the 7.2 hours to 2.1 days added life expectancy is likely to be consumed by the screening procedures themselves. It does not seem reasonable to recommend medical procedures that only extend life long enough to perform the procedure being recommended.