Medco study: Half of women 40 years and older don’t get annual mammograms

SAN ANTONIO — Despite recommendations, half of women ages 40 years and older do not get annual mammograms, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit manager Medco.

The analysis, from the Medco Research Institute, also found that nearly 40% of women ages 50 years and older don’t get biennial screenings. Data from the study will be presented at the 33rd annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The study was based on anonymous medical claims data collected between 2006 and 2009 from more than 1.5 million women. Mammograms are considered an important means of detecting breast cancer and can detect most cases of the disease in women who aren’t showing symptoms.

“These findings provide stark evidence that we need to do a much better job at encouraging women to have regular mammograms,” breast cancer specialist and BreastCancer.org founder Marisa Weiss stated. Weiss recently was diagnosed with breast cancer through a routine mammogram.

The National Cancer Institute estimated that 1-in-8 women will develop cancer during their lifetimes, and the American Cancer Society estimated that 207,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year.

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