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Keywords:

  • Breast cancer;
  • Cancer screening;
  • Elderly;
  • Mammography;
  • Older women

Purpose: Breast cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers among elderly women, but there is little consensus in the literature about appropriate screening guidelines for the elderly. In this report, evidence-based studies addressing the efficacy and effectiveness of mammography screening programs for elderly women are analyzed and interpreted.

Overview: Although there is little direct scientific evidence to support (or to disavow) the benefits of mammography screening for elderly women, a review of the relevant literature supports the benefits of screening mammography for this population. The authors believe that the current evidence supports the efficacy and effectiveness of mammography screening programs for women up to at least age 80 and also suggests that women older than age 80 who are in good general health will also benefit from screening.

Clinical implications: Most individuals rely on their healthcare providers' recommendations to aid them in making decisions regarding their health. When healthcare professionals are equipped with evidence-supported guidelines, they can ensure that appropriate recommendations are being made for their patients. Healthcare professionals who treat the elderly should implement the authors' recommendations, supported by current evidence. The lack of direct evidence should not be interpreted as evidence against the use of screening mammography for the elderly but rather as a call for clinical research on preventive healthcare for senior citizens.