Study Modifies Mammography Guidelines, What this means for Women


In the Fall of 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a statement that recommends against routine mammography screening for women in their 40s and recommends screening only once every two years for women ages 50 to 74.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women, maintains its current advice:

  • Women in their 40s have a screening mammogram every one to two years
  • Women age 50 or older have an annual screening mammogram
  • All women, along with their physicians, should individually assess the benefits as well as the risks of mammography screening.
  • Breast Self-Exams have the potential to detect palpable breast cancer and should be performed.

ACOG strongly supports shared decision making between doctor and patient, and in the case of screening for breast cancer, it is essential. To read the full ACOG article, click here.

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According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. While this is an alarming statistic, the good news is that breast cancer, when detected early, can be cured.

Mammograms are the most effective means of early detection. They can detect a nodule years before you or your doctor can even feel it. In addition to mammograms, the American Cancer Society recommends monthly self-exams as well as annual physician exams. A general guideline suggests that you should get your first mammogram at age 40. However, since guidelines can vary because of risk factors, you should always consult your physician.

There are a growing number of risk factors that predispose people to breast cancer. The early identification of risk allows a woman and her physician to work together to create a customized screening regimen especially for her. Early detection is a key to positive outcomes.

While risk factors vary from one individual to the next, early detection is a key to positive outcomes. So take a minute and schedule an appointment with your doctor today, or call the St.Vincent Breast Center at 338-9595. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, special pricing makes screening mammograms more accessible than ever.