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ASRT Supports Mammograms at 40

Apr 24, 2015

In response to this week’s U.S. Preventive Services Task Force draft breast screening statement recommending that women in their 50s only receive mammography screening every two years, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is reaffirming its support for annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40.

The USPSTF’s recent decision mirrors the recommendations in its 2009 report, which advised against routine mammography screening for women aged 40-49 years. However, many health care organizations including the American Cancer Society, Mayo Clinic, American College of Radiology and ASRT continue to support annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Approximately 17% of breast cancer deaths occur in women who were diagnosed their 40s, and 22% occur in women diagnosed in their 50s.

ASRT recommends that women take three steps to detect breast cancer early:

  • Perform breast self-exams every month beginning at age 20.
  • Obtain clinical breast exams by a health care professional every three years between the ages of 18 and 39, and every year from age 40.
  • Undergo screening mammograms annually from age 40. Woman at high risk might need more frequent screening.

The USPSTF is accepting public comments about its draft breast screening statement until May 18.

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