New Mammogram Guidelines: Start Screening at Age 40

Kim Conte

mammogramRemember last year when a government task force recommended that most women in their 40s should NOT get routine mammograms?

Lots of women and medical experts were outraged at this recommendation because starting regular screening at age 50 (instead of 40) represented a dramatic shift in the approach to breast cancer detection.

Now, two groups have released a joint recommendation in response to the guidelines from last year. They say: Mammograms should begin at 40 for women with an average risk of breast cancer and by 30 for high-risk women.

I'm having a hard time keeping up with all these new guidelines...are you?

The American College of the Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging—two groups that specialize in breast imaging—recommend that screening mammography should be performed annually beginning at age 40 for women at average risk for breast cancer.

Despite the fact that this new joint recommendation directly contradicts the guidelines from last year, the two groups are standing firmly behind it because they believe that the significant decrease in breast cancer mortality (nearly 30 percent since 1990) is largely due to earlier detection of breast cancer through mammogram screening.

If you are confused by the new guidelines or unsure of what to believe about mammograms, please talk to your doctor about your individual history and make the decision that is right for you.

Are you confused by the new mammogram guidelines? Do you think routine screening should begin at age 40 or 50?

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