The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Screening Mammography for Women 40-49 Years Old

Conflicting recommendations on when to screen for breast cancer are problematic for healthcare providers. The recent recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) against routine screening mammography for women 40-49 years old1 conflicts with recommendations made by other organizations such as the American Cancer Society and earlier recommendations made by the USPSTF in 2002.

THE EVIDENCE — All of these recommendations are based on meta-analyses of pooled data from clinical studies that vary in quality. Since 2002, one new study has been published and additional data from one old study has been reported.

The new study (the Age trial) was a randomized trial in the UK in which 53,884 women 39-41 years old were invited to annual screening mammography until age 48, and 106,956 women who were not invited served as the control group; both groups were followed for a mean of 10.7 ... more      

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