Annual mammography for average-risk women starting at age 40 is still supported by the American Cancer Society. It’s our policy too and is supported by both the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging. However, high-risk patients should consider additional screenings.
Here’s what the ACS says about Early Breast Cancer Detection in Women without Symptoms
- Mammogram: Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
- Clinical breast exam: Clinical breast exams should be part of a periodic health exam — about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
- Breast awareness and breast self-exam: Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast changes promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exams are an option for women starting in their 20s.
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Screening MRI is recommended for women with an approximately 20-25% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer, including women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and women who were treated for Hodgkin’s disease.
We acknowledge that controversy about screening mammography still prevails despite an abundance of research that affirms its efficacy in reducing breast cancer death. Here is a link to a recent article addressing that issue.
What is the lesson learned from the breast screening study?