Understanding Preventative Mammogram Guidelines

The American Cancer Society recently issued new guidelines for breast cancer screening, which recommends that women who are at average risk for breast cancer should start having annual mammograms at age 45, and mammograms every other year after age 55. Up until this point, the organization’s official policy was for women to have yearly breast cancer screening starting at age 40.

ACS cancer control officer Dr. Richard Wender recently stated that the policy was changed due to a recent review of research data. However, although the ACS remains one of the most respected authorities on breast cancer prevention, experts from other influential groups have voiced disagreement in reaction to this policy.

The Society of Breast Imaging and the American College of Radiology recommend that women receive mammograms yearly after age 40.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women have mammograms starting at age 40 either yearly or every other year, along with regular clinical breast exams.

In January 2016, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will be hosting a conference along with the ACS, the United States Preventative Services Task Force, and other cancer societies for the purpose of establishing a common set of screening guidelines.

Although the cancer societies above have different guidelines for breast cancer screening, most experts recommend that individuals with a higher risk for breast cancer receive mammograms earlier and more frequently. The most common risk factors include:

  • Family or personal history of breast cancer
  • Genetic mutation known to raise risk of breast cancer
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
  • Previous radiation therapy to chest area
  • Overweight or obese

The best way to determine if you are at high or average risk of breast cancer is to talk to your doctor about both your family’s and your own medical history. If you’re looking to receive a mammogram, ZendyHealth can save you between 20-50% on a screening mammogram with a certified provider.

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