Cancer Group Now Says Most Mammograms Can Wait Till 45

“Group Now Says Most Mammograms Can Wait Till 45,” by Rob Stein, NPR, Oct. 20, 2015.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) released a new set of guidelines for mammography screening for women at average risk for breast cancer.  The guidelines, published in JAMA, are a slight change from the position the society has held for years.

Recommendations  The ACS recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer should undergo regular screening mammography starting at age 45 years (strong recommendation). Women aged 45 to 54 years should be screened annually (qualified recommendation). Women 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually (qualified recommendation). Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 years (qualified recommendation). Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer (qualified recommendation). The ACS does not recommend clinical breast examination for breast cancer screening among average-risk women at any age (qualified recommendation).

Richard Wender, the society’s chief cancer control officer, says:

“Today, screening guidelines are expected to judge the balance between benefits and harms. And that was actually not a standard approach in 2003, which was a time when virtually all of the emphasis was only on the potential benefits of screening.”

For a thorough review of the ongoing screening debate:

 

 

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