Publication Abstract

Authors: Kerlikowske K, Barclay J

Title: Outcomes of modern screening mammography.

Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr (22):105-11

Date: 1997

Abstract: The University of California, San Francisco, Mobile Mammography Screening Program is a low-cost, community-based breast cancer screening program that offers mammography to women of diverse ethnic backgrounds (36% nonwhite) in six counties in northern California. Analysis of data collected on approximately 34,000 screening examinations from this program shows that the positive predictive value and sensitivity of modern screening mammography to be lower for women aged 40 to 49 years compared to women aged 50 and older. This lower performance is due to the lower prevalence of invasive breast cancer in younger women and possibly to age differences in breast tumor biology. Because of this lower performance, women in their forties may be subjected to more of the negative consequences of screening, which include additional diagnostic evaluations and the associated morbidity and anxiety, the potential for detecting and surgically treating clinically insignificant breast lesions, and the false reassurance resulting from normal mammographic results. Since the evidence is not compelling that the benefits of mammography screening outweigh the known risks for women aged 40 to 49 years, women considering mammography screening should be informed of the risks, potential benefits, and limitations of screening mammography, so that they can make individualized decisions based on their personal risk status and utility for the associated risks and potential benefits of screening.