Health News Flash: Breast Cancer Screening for Women at Average Risk -2015 Guideline Update From the American Cancer Society

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For the first time in 32 years, The American Cancer Society (ACS) has changed the age that they recommend for women to start getting regular mammograms. These changes were announced on On October 20, 2015. The changes are designed to eliminate overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Until Tuesday, October 20th, the American Cancer Society said women should get one mammogram every year starting at age 40, as well as regular breast exams by their doctors.The new American Cancer Society guidelines say women of average risk of breast cancer can wait until they’re 45 to have a first mammogram and should have them every year until age 55, and then start having them every other year. In addition, they no longer recommend clinical breast exams.

As I mentioned in my October 19th Menopause Mondays blog, Breast Cancer, Mammograms and Menopause, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations are that most women can safely wait until they are 50 to start getting mammograms and that they need only one every other year.

Here are the American Cancer Society’s new recommendations for women at average risk:

  • Women should undergo regular screening mammography starting at age 45.
  • Women 45 to 54 years of age should be screened annually.
  • Women 55 years and older should transition to every other year but still have the opportunity to continue screening annually, if they so desire.
  • Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 years.
  • Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.
  • Clinical breast examination is not recommended for breast cancer screening among average-risk women at any age.

The new recommendations are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • I think this is good news. I think. I can never tell why they make the decisions they do and always suspect it has to do with lobbying and money.

    • Sadly, medicine is a business. Hopefully, there can be a healthy marriage of the business side and good healthcare.

  • Stephanie_The_Recipe_Renovator

    Thanks Ellen. I opted out this year for a few reasons and now I don’t have to worry. Interesting about the exams no longer being suggested. I assume we should still examine ourselves regularly though and pay attention to any changes.

  • Mary La Fornara

    I wish the powers that be would make up their minds! Until then, I will continue to do self-exams.

  • I never could get over that metal plate smashing my boob into a pancake. If the target had been a testicle, I’m sure a more humane solution would have materialized.
    Kimberly XO

  • Helene Bludman

    It is so hard to keep up with the constantly evolving healthcare recommendations, and I know I can come to your blog to find out the latest news. Thank you!

    • Your words make my heart sing. Thank you, Helene!

  • Alana Mautone

    This is big news for my sister in law, whose mother is a two time breast cancer survivor (and three of her aunts had breast cancer, too.) Sometimes, with ever changing medical standards, I don’t know what to think and she may not, either.

    • Alana, be sure to take note that these are guidelines for women with “average risk”. When you have breast cancer in your family, your risk would not be considered, “average”.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    It is such a challenge to keep up with all the latest news. Thank you for helping us stay abreast ( ha ha, I didn’t mean it to be punny!) of what’s important for us.

  • Guidelines are just that. I say, follow the guidelines, find a doctor you trust and can talk to, and follow your gut too. Inklings can save lives too.

  • Lisa_GrandmasBriefs

    All the rules change again and again. Makes my head spin. I’m a little less concerned about this as there is NO history in my family (unbelievably). Then again, there’s no history of MS, either, but look who ended up with it! Guess I better be concerned about this. Thank you for the nudge.

    • It’s just good to understand the latest info so that you can have this knowledge when you speak with your own doctor. Do not be concerned in the least.