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Women's Health

Are you old enough to give up your screening mammogram?

July 01, 2020

There's no easy answer to this question. Rather, women should make the decision based on their individual needs.

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Most women don't look forward to their routine mammogram, which can be uncomfortable and stressful. You may wonder: Is there an age when can you dispense with this regular chore? 75, 80, 85?

The truth is that experts haven't determined a magic age when women no longer need breast cancer screening — largely because scientific evidence in this area is lacking, says Dr. Kathryn Rexrode, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital. But many experts also agree that continuing mammography might not be the right choice beyond age 75. The real question, they say, is what is the right age for you to stop based on your individual needs? To decide, you need to understand both the potential risks and benefits of breast cancer screening.

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