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New Guidelines for Mammograms

 

American Cancer Society Alters Age Guidelines for Mammograms

 

Mammogram Age

With the understanding that screening for breast cancer can bring both harms as well as benefits, the American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines saying that women should start having mammograms later and less often than previously recommended. However, it must be acknowledged that one recommendation does not fit all. The ACS’s new guidelines, issued Tuesday, October 20th, 2015, which applies to women at average or below-average risk of breast cancer. Strongly recommends that women begin receiving annual mammograms at the age of 45, which is five years after the previously recommended age of 40.

Further, the ACS recommends that once a woman reaches the age of 55, she should limit her mammograms to once every two years (as long as they are healthy and expect to live at least ten more years). This recommendation is because breast cancer in that age group grows slowly enough, that yearly screenings add only a small benefit while raising the risk of false positives.

Dr. Wender of the ACS proclaimed that the society evaluated evidence over five-year increments to conclude that between the ages 40 and 45, a women’s risk of having breast cancer was closer to a 30-year-old’s than a 50-year-old’s. But by age 45, the risk was high enough that all women should undergo the screening.

It should be noted that women who want to begin having mammograms annually at the age of 40, or proceeding with annual screenings after the age of 55, do have the opportunity to do so. Congress has added an exception to the Affordable Care Act requiring insurers to cover annual mammograms starting at age 40 at no cost.

For more information check our sources: Wall Street JournalAmerican Cancer Society

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