ATLANTA — New research could mean millions of older women can skip frequent screening tests for osteoporosis: If an initial bone scan shows no big problems, many can safely wait 15 years to have another one, the study suggests.
Government advisers and leading doctor groups urge osteoporosis screening, but no one has known how often that should happen. The findings offer the best information to date on that question, experts said.
"This is landmark, in the sense that it could allow us to move on to more precise guidelines," said Dr. Heidi Nelson, an expert on the topic at Oregon Health & Science University.
The government task force recommends that all women over 65 get a scan. The panel also recommends testing for younger postmenopausal women who seem at higher risk for fractures. But the task force has not said how often follow-up tests should be done, just that a couple of years between tests are needed.