Biennial Mammograms are Sufficient to Screen for Breast Cancer
According to researchers at the University of California Medical Center, and published in the March issue of Internal Medicine, screening for breast cancer every two years is preferrable to yearly screens when doing mammograms. This was based on a study of 900,000 women. It appears that this applies to women from the age of 50-94. Mammograms picked up the same number and size of tumors whether done annually or biennially and whether or not women had dense breasts or were on hormone replacement therapy! However, for women under the age of 40 this was not true.
The problem is that mammograms are far from an ideal test because they cause some cancers because they deliver significant radiation and because they result in far too many false positive tests that end in retesting, increasing morbidity, and increasing costs. Fifty percent of women screened annually with mammograms will have at least one recall over a ten year period.