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January 19, 1994

Breast Cancer Screening for Elderly Women

JAMA. 1994;271(3):191. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510270037020

To the Editor.  —In a recent response to a question regarding breast cancer therapy in the elderly,1 your consultant emphasized the general acceptance of screening mammography in the elderly before discussing the incomplete data on treatment.There are no data to support screening mammography in women older than 69 years, and most organizations recommend screening only to age 75 years.2 The report of the US Preventive Services Task Force3 states, "Mammography every one to two years is recommended for all women beginning at age 50 and concluding at approximately age 75 unless pathology is detected."A number of countries, including Canada, have established guidelines that do not include patients 70 years or older.4 This is consistent with the original research that has demonstrated a benefit only for women in the 50- to 69-year-old group.4Despite the increasing incidence of breast cancer with age there is