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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