Table 29c: Breast cancer screening with mammography ages 70 and older

This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. While viewing summary tables offers an informative glimpse at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations, they should be viewed with some caution. There are a number of concepts you must understand to be able to successfully read and interpret research tables. To get some background information about understanding research tables, please see How to Read a Research Table.

Introduction: Only a few studies have looked at the benefits of screening mammograms in women ages 70 and older, and none of these have been randomized controlled trials. Therefore, no studies are listed in Table 28c below.

The U.S. Preventive Task Force no longer recommends routine mammography screening in women ages 75 and older [1]. However, data from one non-randomized study show that screening in this age group can slightly increase life expectancy [2]. Because breast cancer risk continues to increase with age, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that women ages 70 and older get regular mammograms. Most health organizations agree that women ages 70 and older continue routine mammography screening if they are: 

  • In fairly good health
  • Have a life expectancy of five years or more
  • Would be reasonable candidates for treatment

Study selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials.

Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk.


Study Population

Follow-up (years)

Age at Screening

Relative Risk of Breast Cancer Mortality in Women Who Were Screened Compared to Women Who Were Not, RR (95% CI)

No randomized controlled trials to date





NA = Not applicable.


1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for breast cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 151(10):716-726, 2009.

2. Kerlikowske K, Salzmann P, Phillips KA, et al. Continuing screening mammography in women aged 70 to 79 years: impact on life expectancy and cost-effectiveness. JAMA. 282(22):2156-2163, 1999.


Updated 11/19/09