Mammography Screening Intervals

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Story Updated: Dec 5, 2013

Back in 2009, new guidelines were released about the timing of screening mammograms for breast cancer. The recommendation, from The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, suggested women between 50 and 74 get mammograms once every two years...not annually. But now...new research suggests the more frequently a woman has a mammogram....the less likely she is to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer

that has already spread to the lymph nodes.The study included 3-hundred-32 women with breast cancer identified by screening mammography between 2007 and 2010.

Factoring in age, breast density, high-risk status and a family history of breast cancer... women who had a mammogram at 1 and a half year or less intervals had the lowest rate of lymph node involvement...at 8-point-7 percent.

But when a woman waited longer...1 and a half to three years... the rate of lymph node involvement was significantly higher -20-point-5 percent. Those who waited over three-years had a 15-point-4 percent rate of lymph node involvement.

With this new data, discussion will undoubtedly continue on whether women should wait longer than a year or so for mammograms. As always, talk your personal health decisions over with your doctor.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com