The American Cancer Society has changed their position on mammograms for women, and has announced that women should have them later in life and with less frequency than previously advocated.
The society released a statement this week saying that they no longer recommend clinical breast examinations in which doctors feel for lumps, in patients who display no other breast abnormalities.
They now recommend that women with an average risk of developing breast cancer start having mammograms once a year at the age of 45, until they are 54 years old. From this point on, the society recommends having the procedure done every other year, for as long as an individual is healthy and expected to keep on living for another 10 years.
Prior to this, the American Cancer Society recommended that women start having mammograms at the age of 40, and continue doing so yearly from this point, on.
What triggered the change in stance?
Many false positives have led to additional testing and sometimes biopsies.
The new guidelines have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This year, 40,290 deaths are expected in the United States, from breast cancer.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation states on their website that “adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.”
According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
Learn how to do a self-exam here.