Breast imaging experts recommend mammograms at age 40

Not to confuse anyone, experts are now saying that women who run an "average" risk of breast cancer should begin screening for the disease at age 40, while those who are deemed to be at "high risk" for breast cancer should begin screening at age 30, according to new joint guidelines from the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging.

The guidelines run contrary to controversial guidedance in November from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recommended against routine mammograms for women in their 40s. 

"The significant decrease in breast cancer mortality, which amounts to nearly 30 percent since 1990, is a major medical success and is due largely to earlier detection of breast cancer through mammography screening," says Carol H. Lee, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's radiology department.

"For women with the highest risk of developing breast cancer, screening technologies in addition to mammography have been adopted," said Lee, who co-authored the guidelines. They appear in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR).

For more information:
- view the study in JACR 

- view the press release

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