WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: Mammograms Under 40

By: Christi Paul Email
By: Christi Paul Email

As the debate continues on when women should get mammograms, a new study shows, most women under 40 don't benefit from the imaging.

Here's Christi Paul with today's Health Minute.

An estimated 29 percent of u.S. Women in their 30s undergo mammograms each year. That's according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. But the study goes on to say, these screenings many times result in false-positives that require additional tests, even though few breast cancer cases are ultimately detected.

Researchers looked at approximately 117,700 women younger than age 40 with no family history of breast cancer. Those between ages 35 and 39 underwent the highest number of mammograms, yet for every 10,000 women screened in this age group, approximately 12-hundred would be called back for additional tests and fewer than 20 cases of cancer would be found. That number more than doubles in women ages 45-49, and continues to increase with age.

Investigators believe there needs to be serious discussion about the use of mammography in young women who do not have symptoms, to prevent exposure to unnecessary radiation.

The American Cancer Society agrees, saying this study strongly supports their recommendation that screening mammography should begin at age 40 and not earlier and that only women with a strong family history, or those who carry the breast cancer genes should consider a mammogram at an earlier age.

For today's Health Minute, i'm Christi Paul.

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