Narrator: This is Science Today. Contrary to current belief, a new study has found mammography is no more sensitive at detecting breast cancer in young women with a family history of the disease, than in women without it. Epidemiologist Karla Kerlikowske, of the University of California, San Francisco conducted previous research on mammography, and found it's more sensitive at detecting cancer in older women.
Kerlikowske: Older women have the advantage of they've been through menopause, their breasts are now more fatty, it's easier to see their breast tumors and their tumors grow more slowly. So you have the opportunity to find them when they're small and slow growing.
Narrator: To prevent one breast cancer death in younger women, Kerlikowske says 2500 women would have to be regularly screened, as opposed to 270 women in the older group.
Kerlikowske: People often say that it doesn't make a difference how much it costs, but if you save one life, that must be beneficial. But there's a limited number of resources for health and money used for something that has a low benefit and a high cost is not very efficient.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.