All breast screening guidelines recommend screening at 40.
Breast cancer screening guidelines can be challenging to understand. With several different mammography guidelines from national organizations, interpreting what it all means makes it hard to figure out what is right for you. The Society of Breast Imaging, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the American Cancer Society guidelines differ. It’s easy to be confused. Pheobe Freer, MD, an associate professor of radiology at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, shares her view on the differences. You can read her post here.
Although there are differing recommendations on timing and frequency, organizations agree on one thing – yearly screening mammography starting at age 40 saves the most lives. This has been proven by rigorous research and is agreed on by all of these medical communities.
It’s refreshing to read the personal story from Dr. Freer and how even her mom and mom’s friends were confused about the mammogram breast cancer screening guidelines. Over-diagnosis and false positives can create unnecessary stress and doubt. And with so many credible opinions, it’s best for a woman to talk to her physician about her screening options.
While mammograms are not perfect, screening is still the best way to detect cancer at an early stage. Since annual screening mammography was implemented in the late 1980s, breast cancer deaths have been reduced by 39%. It might be easy for you to skip your annual mammogram, but keep in mind that early detection and increased awareness minimizes the number of women dying from breast cancer. Even though certain professional medical organizations are recommending screening to begin later (ages 45 or 50) and advising women to choose screening every other year, they openly admit that less lives will be saved and more women will die from this pattern. Educate yourself with breast cancer screening guidelines, so you can decide.
To learn more about reducing your risk of breast cancer, learn about healthy habits suggested by the Mayo Clinic.
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