Three days ago the American Cancer Society released new guidelines for breast cancer screening. The amended guidelines were published in the October 20, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
[Cover Photo Credits: Survivors’ Salute, October 2014 (with permission from Thomas Vela/Chasing Light Photography, www.chasinglightphotography.zenfolio.com]
Publication of these new guidelines is based on the results of more recent studies on mammography screening and the recommendations from a panel of experts that reviewed a significant volume of data. The guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Women at high risk – because of family history, a breast condition, or another reason – need to begin screening earlier and/or more often. You are encouraged to talk to your medical provider to be sure.
Here are the new recommendations [Ref 1]:
- Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
- Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
- At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.
- Regular mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.
- Breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.
Having been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer 18 years ago, my personal thoughts were, “this sounds reasonable, however, perhaps I should ask another person who has experience on this topic.” So, I did. My next post will capture that discussion.
For more information on the new screening guidelines, visit the American Cancer Society’s website: www.cancer.org.
- American Cancer Society Releases New Breast Cancer Guideline, by Stacy Simon, October 20, 2015, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/news/american-cancer-society-releases-new-breast-cancer-guidelines