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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


Surveillance Mammography in Older Breast Cancer Survivors: Patient Survey Findings

By: Victoria Kuhr, BA
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2022

Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH, of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues reported that most elderly breast cancer survivors with residual breast tissue undergo annual surveillance mammography after age 75. Additionally, more than half the patients reported pain as the most common adverse effect from the screening. These study findings were presented at the 2022 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Annual Conference (Abstract BPI22-021) and published in JNCCN–Journal of the Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The study reported the findings from surveys between October 2020 and December 2020 to breast cancer survivors older than age 78. These breast cancer survivors were enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Breast Disease Registry after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer at age 74 or younger and did not have a known diagnosis of bilateral mastectomy or metastatic disease. The survey included questions on mammographic frequency and patient-perceived adverse effects of surveillance mammography.

Of the 647 women who responded to the surveys, 549 were deemed eligible and enrolled in the study. The median age was 81. Of the eligible patients, 97% (533) reported they had at least one post-cancer mammogram; 82% of these patients had annual mammography, 6% biennially, 7% less than every other year, and 5% more often than annually. Among those patients who had a least one surveillance mamamography, 27% experienced emotional problems during the week before or after the mammogram, with a frequency reported as “rare” by 16%, “sometimes” by 8%, and “often” or “always” by less than 2%. Of these 533 women, 18% reported some level of sleep problems, with 2% considering the sleep problems more severe during the week before or after mammography. Additionally, 57% of patients reported that mammography caused them pain on a scale of of 1 to 5, and 16% reported pain on a scale of 6 to 10, where 1 was the least painful and 10 the most painful.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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