Nightly News   |  September 09, 2013

Study: 50 too late to start breast cancer screening

A controversial new study reignites the debate on the age women should being getting mammograms. Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> today's other news includes a development concerning breast cancer . you may recall a few years back a government task force recommended women wait until they are 50 before receiving regular mammograms. but in a study out today, researchers found the majority of the women who died of breast cancer had not been screened and half of those women were under 50. so what does this now do to the advice women are supposed to get from their doctors? our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman is with us tonight on assignment at the mayo clinic in minnesota with guidance on all of this. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. it means that women are continually confused and the reality is nobody likes to hear the answer that if we screen more often and screen younger of course we are going to find more canness and cure them. unfortunately that's just not how things work. cancer is a very confusing item. if you look at younger women , sometimes those cancers are more aggressive and sometimes cancers just disappear. there is a downside to overly treating and looking for cancers. overly screening, i should say. when you screen people in mass numbers and screening women in their 30s and 40s is much different than screening older women because the breast is very dense, you could overdiagnose, over treat and overharm. it may not be a popular message tonight, but the government's recommendations are staying at 50 stand. brian?

>> dr. nancy snyderman with us tonight from the mayo clinic . thanks as always.