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B. Who Benefits The Most From Mammograms

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new study released by the University of California, San Francisco has found regular mammograms in women aged 40 to 49 are not as cost effective as they are in older women. Dr. Karla Kerlikowske says there are a few reasons for that.

Kerlikowske: Breast cancer is not common in young women, so there are fewer deaths to avert. A second reason is that in younger women, it takes ten years to see any kind of benefit from screening.

Narrator: What's more, Kerlikowske says it takes twenty-five hundred younger women to be regularly screened to prevent one death compared to 270 women, aged 50 to 69.

Kerlikowske: People often say that it doesn't make a difference how much it costs but if you save one life, that 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 compared to spending money in an older population where the benefit is greater and it costs less.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.