Home » Breast cancer screening should start at 40, new expert recommendations say

Breast cancer screening should start at 40, new expert recommendations say

by UNN Feed

Screening for breast cancer should now start earlier, a major expert group says. People with breasts should now get a mammogram every other year starting at age 40 — not 50, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends.

Since 2009, the USPSTF recommended that women with an average risk for breast cancer should start getting screened at age 50.

The independent expert panel updated its recommendations in 2016 to include a provision that women could start getting mammograms at age 40 if they wanted to. But the decision needed to be individualized and balanced with the risks of potential false-positives.

Now, the group has made an even bigger change.

The new guidelines, which are largely similar to a draft recommendation released last year, can help detect more breast cancers at earlier stages. And that will have a particularly major impact on Black women who are more likely to develop aggressive cancers at younger ages than white women, the panel says.

However, other experts say the new guidelines still don’t go far enough in detecting aggressive breast cancers in younger people.

What are the new USPSTF breast cancer screening guidelines?

Here are the new breast cancer screening guidelines from the USPSTF:

  • Women with an average risk for breast cancer should have mammograms, a type of X-ray, every other year from ages 40 through 74.
  • People with a higher-than-average risk for breast cancer, such as a family history or genetic factors, should talk to their doctor about when to start screening.

The new recommendations also highlight a few areas in which more research is sorely needed, Dr. Wanda Nicholson, chair of the task force and professor of prevention and community health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, tells TODAY.com.

There’s still not enough data to recommend for or against continued screening at age 75 and above, for example. Additionally, there’s not enough evidence to weigh the potential…

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