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ACS Changed Guidelines: How Often Should Mammograms Be Done Now?

By HERWriter
 
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ACS Changed Guidelines: Now How Often Should Mammograms Be Done? MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Fewer false positives result from biennial screens.”

Elizabeth T.H. Fontham, MPH, DrPH, member of the ACS Guideline Development Group states, “But once a woman turns 55, screening every other year preserves most of the benefit of screening every year – with fewer risks.”

Clinical breast exams also did not produce enough earlier breast cancer detection benefit. Instead, a CBE could result all too often in a false positive that could then lead to more intervention.

Do other health organizations agree?

No, they don’t, according to the New York Times. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network says that women should have mammograms every year starting at age 40.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends mammograms every year or two from 40 to 49, and every year after 50.”

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening mammography every two years and to start later, at age 50-74 years of age. The USPSTF's stand is that it is up to women to decide if they want to start earlier, at ages 40 to 50, or continue after age 75.

What should you do?

The New York Times says that all the groups agree that mammography can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by up to 20 percent, but there is no consensus on when to start.

1) Decide what makes you feel comfortable.

Talk with your health provider about having a mammogram between the ages of 40- 45, and decide jointly what your risk is and what your comfort level is. The same goes for deciding if you want to continue to get them every year after the age of 55.

Insurance still pays for mammograms if they are done between the ages of 40- 45. Insurance reimbursement did not change even when the USPSTF came out with their recommendations to start at age 50 in 2009.

2) If you want to continue self-exams, you can, no one is going to stop you.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Yep, I agree with Linda.
I was lucky to find my lump, early, with self examination.
I would encourage self examination, pluss mammograms.Have a mamogram annually, at least from age 40, earlier, if there is family history.
Also, mammograms can hurt, let's face it...I find taking pain killers half an hour beforehand helps.
Also, do your best to be supportive for people going through treatment for cancer.
That means, no free advice, just cuppas, maybe offering lifts to tests and treatment, being good company.It can be very lonely, so many people run...maybe they think cancer is infectious?

October 30, 2015 - 2:57pm

So the new guidelines are based on a lot of false positives. Regardless, I would rather have a biopsy and testing with the result of a false positive vs. not knowing and having something linger. In my humble opinion, it feels like we are going backwards in testing. As far as I am concerned, test away. A problem caught in the early stages is much easier to treat and the outcome to cure is far greater. Just my opinion.

October 29, 2015 - 4:20pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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