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Neighborhood Blog

Putting an end to the confusion: Women want to know when to start breast screening, and how often

Contributed by Daniel DiPietro, Director of Operations, Neighborhood Radiology

Mature woman confused about mammograms

With all the conflicting stories in the news, women have reported increased confusion about the recommended starting age and frequency of breast screening. The correct answer—according to the breast cancer experts—is once per year, every year, starting at age 40 or earlier if you are considered to be at high risk.

The latest clinical research shows that:

  • Annual screening starting at 40 reduces mortality by nearly 40%--compared with just 23.2% for biennial screening1
  • Women in their 40s account for nearly 20% of all screen-detected breast cancers2
  • In a single year, if every woman 40 years of age and older had annual mammograms, there would be 29,369 lives saved1
  • Screening mammograms should be also performed annually in older women, until the age of 841
  • African American women and women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a higher risk for breast cancer, and should have a breast cancer risk assessment at age 30 to determine if annual mammograms should begin before 40 years of age.3

The American College of Obstetricians, The American College of Radiology, The Society for Breast Imaging and the American Society of Breast Surgeons all agree… screening mammography starting at age 40 for women at low or average risk is best, and possibly earlier for women at high risk.

The evidence also supports annual—not biennial—screening to improve the chances for early detection. And the evidence shows that today’s advanced imaging equipment—like the kind we use at Neighborhood Radiology—is far superior at detecting breast cancer earlier, with fewer false positives and callbacks.


Sources:
1.) Cancer 21 August 2017 Comparison of recommendations for screening mammography using CISNET models. Elizabeth Kagan Arlea MD et al.
2.) American Journal of Roentgenology. Voume 209, Issue 3 September 2017. Screening Mammography for Women in Their 40s: The potential impact of the ACS and USFSTF breast cancer screening recommendations. Jenifer A. Pitman, et al.
3.) American College of Radiology recommendation

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