Oct 22, 2015 10:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center


You may have heard news about new mammogram guidelines published by the American Cancer Society (ACS) this week. The ACS conducted a landmark review of medical evidence behind screening mammography for women at average risk for breast cancer. The review confirms that mammograms are effective at saving lives and that women ages 45–54 should definitely have yearly mammograms. The ACS recommends women ages 40–44 consider a yearly mammogram based on an informed decision and discussions with their doctors. However, the ACS concludes that the most lives are saved when women start getting mammograms at the age of 40 and continue getting them every year.

The main goal of breast radiologists at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and University of Utah Healthcare (UUHC) is to save the most lives possible from breast cancer. That is why we continue to stronglyrecommend women with an average risk of breast cancer get a mammogram every year starting at age 40.

  • 75% of breast cancers occur in women who have no high-risk factors.
  • 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women in their 40s.
  • By not getting a yearly mammogram after age 40, women increase their odds of dying from breast cancer. Also, when cancer is found late, it requires more treatment and higher-cost treatment.

Screening Recommendations for Women 55 and Older

For women 55 and older, the ACS says women can continue getting a mammogram every year or consider getting one every two years. The reason for screening every two years is because of the risk of false positives, which lead to women having to come back for more testing. But the ACS study confirms that even more lives are saved by using yearly screening regimens compared to screening every two years. At HCI and UUHC, our Screening With Immediate Results program eliminates the worry caused by being called back for additional imaging. Patients can get immediate results after their mammogram, while they are still in the clinic. If the patient needs more testing, it may be offered right then.

We support the right of women to make informed decisions about their breast care. For more information about breast cancer screening, see this information card and read the American College of Radiology statement about the ACS review.


Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

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