New breast cancer screening guidelines released

New breast cancer screening guidelines released

On Oct. 20, 2015, the American Cancer Society released new breast cancer screening guidelines after completing a review of the latest medical research. The updated guidelines state the following recommendations:

  • Screening mammograms should begin at age 45; this is five years later than the original recommendation of age 40
  • Women between the age of 45-54 should be screened annually
  • Those over 55 can transition to screenings every other year or have the opportunity to continue screening annually
  • Mammograms should continue as long as women are in good overall health and have a life expectancy of more than 10 years
  • Clinical breast examinations where a doctor or nurse feels for lumps in the breast are not recommended for women who have no symptoms. Previously, these examinations were recommended annually.

“For women of all ages at average risk, screening was associated with a reduction in breast cancer mortality of approximately 20 percent, although there was uncertainty about quantitative estimates of outcomes for different breast cancer screening strategies in the United States,” wrote researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Heidi Memmel, a breast surgeon with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill., believes that every woman should have a choice about whether or not they want to get a mammogram at the age of 40 because early detection is so critical.

“What everyone agrees on is that mammograms save lives,” says Dr. Memmel, who is also a breast cancer survivor. “Every person is very different and should consult with their physician about what makes the most sense for them given their risk factors.”

The American Cancer Society expects that approximately 231,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2015 and over 40,000 individuals will die from the disease this year.

“Multiple studies have shown that mammograms beginning at age 40 have been shown to save lives, and this is the only screening test that has been shown to reduce mortality from breast cancer,” says Dr. Memmel.

To learn more about breast health, visit Stories of the Girls.

Related Posts



  1. I am over age 55 and was diagnosed as Stage II IDC. I went for regular mammograms annually and never had any issues. If I had chosen to wait another year, I fully believe I would have been diagnosed as Stage IIII… I personally believe that all women over the age of 55 should receive a 3D mammogram annually.

  2. Theresa Frachalla October 21, 2015 at 11:17 am · Reply

    So, based on these new guidelines, I’m guessing insurance companies will not cover mammograms until age 45. Which will make it expensive and impossible for all women 40 and over to receive this screening. And, that will result in less “early detection” and likely a higher mortality rate. Scary! Sometimes, I feel like we’re going backwards as a developed nation.

  3. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer at 72; she lived to be 90. How does anyone know when you are 10 years from your passing? Upsetting when an organization including the government can determine my death.

  4. I would like to hear what evidence these new guidelines are based on.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.