Jun 23, 2022
Cancer screening is designed to detect slow growing cancers that on average take 10 years to cause harm. The benefits of mammography breast cancer screening rise with age, peak when women are in their 60s, and decline thereafter. That is why the American College of Physicians recommendation regarding mammography for women over age 75 is:
In average-risk women aged 75 years or older or in women with a life expectancy of 10 years or less, clinicians should discontinue screening for breast cancer.
Today we talk with Mara Schonberg, who has been tackling this issue from a variety of angles: building an index to estimate prognosis for older adults, writing about how to talk with older adults about stopping screening, a randomized trial of her decision aid, and how to talk to older adults about their long term prognosis. In the podcast she gives very practical advice with language to use, and references her decision aid, which is available on ePrognosis here.
Mara keeps working at it, and the more she works, the closer we are to fine.