Effect of age of initiation of mammography breast cancer screening

28 Jun 2024
Isabel Saffie-Vega, Sergio Muñoz-Navarro, Macarena Manríquez-Mimica, Jorge Sapunar-Zenteno

Introduction: Mammography is an excellent resource to reduce the burden of premature death associated with breast cancer; however, screening is only recommended between the ages of 50 and 69 years.

General objective: To compare the frequency of suspicious and non-diagnostic mammograms for breast cancer when screening Chilean women between the ages of 40 and 50 years.

Patients and methods: Cross-sectional study nested in a breast cancer screening programme in Chilean women >40 years old, conducted between 2017 and 2021. Demographic variables and risk factors are described. To establish the effect of age on screening, we calculated the number needed to screen for a Breast Imaging Reporting and Data Reporting System 4 or 5 mammogram when screening over 40 years or over 50 years.

Results: We studied 137,690 women screened for breast cancer since the age of 40 years. The median age was 54 years (range 40–93 years). 64.7% of women were postmenopausal, 4.79% were nulliparous and 14% of post-menopausal women were receiving hormone replacement therapy. To find a suspicious mammogram, 170 women over 40 years and 149 women over 50 years would have to be screened.

Conclusion: By changing the starting age of screening from 50 to 40 years 21 more women would have to be screened to detect a suspicious mammogram and if screened from age 50 and not from age 40 years 21% of total suspicious mammograms would remain unidentified.

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