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Once again my Mom asked me to take her to her annual mammogram. Because Mom is frail and unsteady on her feet, it takes two technicians to do the mammogram. And as us woman know, it's not easy to be contorted into that highly uncomfortable and sometimes painful position, imagine doing that after you are 90 years old.

I know there are pros and cons, and articles saying it is ok to have such a test when 90+ and other articles saying it is unnecessary. My mother's gyn says it's unnecessary but apparently my mother insists.

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We stopped mammograms two years ago on doctor's recommendation. Mom's dementia is becoming quite advanced and at this point, surgery would not be an option as the anesthesia could very likely destroy the ability to do anything for herself. If you are not going to do the treatment, save yourself the anxiety of doing the test. Great idea to get some space age looking thing and wave it over her! LOL!!!
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Can you explain to her that at her age a blood test is about as effective as a mammogram? (somewhat true) If it were my parent or myself, I would not undergo treatment if cancer were found at age 96.
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My original post was over a year ago, and here I am once again taking Mom to her GYN for her annual appointment. In the past year I have been rethinking about the mammogram as apparently it is Mom's peace of mind.... her sister had died decades ago from breast cancer so my Mom is probably scared she might be next, even though her other sisters never had breast cancer.

Maybe I can get her GYN to tell her at her age every two years is now recommended :)

Boy, if my doctor told me no more mammograms, I would be doing cartwheels in the street !!
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You could tell your mom they now have a do it at home kit, find some toy gadget that looks something from star trek, wave it over the girls and "send the data in" for evaluation. Wouldn't that be nice???? That's what they will invent for men if there ever comes a need for that sort of thing....
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If Mom can't tolerate the test without aid she certainly would not tolerate treatment. Agree with Pam. Got bullied into a couple recently then told I was "percieving" the problem and I am not close to 96.
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The NBC 2015 news report on mammograms was very interesting and your posts were helpful.
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freqflyer, this reminds me to add an advanced directive saying "and NO more $$$$$ tests, including Slam-O-Grams, or shoving tubes into ANY porthole.
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No. There are better tests. Unfortunately our doctors recommend every test that insurance will pay for.
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If you google "mammogram news 2015," a link to the NBC News report and video comes up. I thought this was very interesting.
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A question would be if someone is very old, what would they do if they did see something? A high percentage of suspicious spots on a mammogram turn out to be benign when a biopsy is performed. And even if it was cancer, what would be done? Maybe a lumpectomy would be tolerable, but a mastectomy or chemotherapy would be too hard on someone when they are frail.

That is a major consideration -- how frail is the person? If they are too frail to undergo cancer treatment, then a mammogram is not useful. There was a recent study on mammograms that they reported on the news last night. I didn't see the original study, so really can't comment, but the report made me wonder if they were being overused in many cases.
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The radiology clinic sends a reminder letter saying that a mammogram is recommended every year regardless of the patient's age. I questioned the necessity of this several years ago. My mother said her physician was very much in favor of the annual mammogram. My mother is in her 90s. We have no family history of breast cancer or any other type of cancer. Medicare pays for the test and the primary care physician has sent the elderly patient out of his/her office and into someone else's. A medical distraction for the elderly.
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What Jeannegibbs said, which is a direct quote from the head of geriatrics at a major NYC hospital (and someplace else as well, as Jeanne doesn't live in NYC !) Think about WHY you're doing the test; it's not the same as doing a mamogram for a 60 year old. If your mom has dementia, engage in some harmless diversionary tactics if you need to. Otherwise, be upfront with her; "mom, are you contemplating having a mastectomy and chemo? Cancer will take 10 years to kill you, and the treatment will be horrendous?
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My mom had been getting annual mammograms until last year. The doctor did not have to order it, some tests are covered without an order, mammogram being one. When the radiologist called, I setup the appointment, then thought to myself, WHY?! So talked with mom's doctor and he said every two years at the age of 87 is sufficient. Well, we will see what happens in 2014, if she lasts that long. But like JG said if you wouldn't do the treatment if diagnosed with cancer, then what is the point of doing the screening? We would not have her treated at this point, and the treatment could very well kill her, but then that would be faster than either the cancer or the Alzheimers.
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General rule of thumb: If you won't do the treatment, don't do the test.
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Its not necessary. Odds are if they did find something even the dr probably wouldn't recommend any treatment at her age. I know if it were my mom I would just have the dr tell her its not necessary and before you get there tell the dr not to order it. If its not ordered its not covered. Also maybe if the dr tells her to her face she might understand.
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I guess all you can do is ask her what she would do if they did find anything. Would she want surgery and chemotherapy at her age? I have a feeling that the treatment would be very hard on someone her age. I would tell her the doctor did not want to do the test, so you were going to follow the doctor's advice.
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