Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California, San Francisco study has found the overall benefit of mammogram screening in women under fifty, including those with a family history of the disease, is relatively small. Epidemiologist Karla Kerlikowske says their study basically found the risks didn't outweigh the benefits.
Kerlikowske: It's what we call a toss up. And when things are a toss up in medicine, it really depends on your perception of risk, whether you're really concerned about breast cancer, how you feel about being inconvenienced, how you feel about having unnecessary tests, unnecessary surgeries.
Narrator: Because women with a family history of breast cancer have a greater chance of false positive tests, they're at risk of the extra testing and anxiety that accompany a false positive result. On the other hand, Kerlikowske says about twenty-five percent of cancers are missed in younger women.
Kerlikowske: So I think in younger women, instead of just automatically recommending that everyone get screened, that they really need to discuss with their provider what the risks and benefits are and whether they think for them personally, that they should undergo screening.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.