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Elderly 'also benefit from breast screening'

Elderly women continue to benefit from breast cancer screening beyond the age of 70 years.

The new US research vindicates the Government's decision to extend the NHS breast cancer screening programme to all women from aged 65 to 73 years old.

The commitment to extend the screening programme to offer it to women between 47 and 73 every three years, will mean that 400,000 women will be screened annually by the time the extension is fully implemented in 2012.

Research presented at the Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas last week, which reviewed 37 women aged 70 or older with breast cancer, found 71% had their cancers identified through mammograms.

The tumours identified through screening were smaller and identified earlier than those identified at the diagnostic stage.

Dr Neely Hines, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said: 'Our results suggest that screening mammography continues to be very beneficial in the elderly. Screening mammography should continue to be requested in the elderly.'

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