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.
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