About Screening Mammogram Guidelines
September 23, 2016

Central Oregon Radiology Associates (CORA) recognizes that there are conflicting mammogram guidelines for screening and that these conflicts can be a source of confusion for patients and providers alike.

Central Oregon Radiology Associates seeks to provide quality, evidence-based information for clinicians and patients in the Central Oregon region. With this in mind, Central Oregon Radiology Associates offers the following clarification and position regarding screening mammogram guidelines:
Mammography remains the best tool available to screen for breast cancer. It has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate in the United States by 30 percent. Currently, insurance coverage for annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40 is mandated.

Central Oregon Radiology Associates continues to follow and support the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines that recommend women aged 40-80 have yearly mammograms. These guidelines are also supported by the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD), and the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has made screening recommendations for average risk women, i.e. women with no significant risk factors and/or a calculated lifetime risk of developing breast cancer of 12% or less. For these average risk women, and after a discussion with their doctors, the ACS allows that annual screening mammography can begin at age 45, and bi-annual mammography might be considered after the age of 55, again after a risk evaluation and discussion with a clinician. However, the ACS also states that if a woman desires, she should have access to annual mammograms beginning at 40.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) also has made screening recommendations which are controversial and which could limit access to screening mammography as insurance companies are allowed to provide coverage based on USPSTF recommendations. The USPSTF recommends screening mammography starting at age 50 and continuing through age 74, and only on an every-other-year basis.

Through the end of December 2017, there is a two-year moratorium on the USPSTF’s recommendations thanks to the bi-partisan Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act, allowing women access to annual screening mammograms beginning at 40.
At CORA, we want be an integral part of developing a screening plan based on a woman’s risk and needs by providing a risk assessment at the time of her mammogram. We are also working for continued access to potentially life-saving screening, to help ensure the health and wellbeing of our valued patients.

Please contact us at CORA with any questions when making breast health decisions.


Cloe Shelton, MD
Medical Director, Women’s Imaging
Central Oregon Radiology Associates