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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