Updated Guidance for Screening Women with Average Cancer Risk

The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend that women begin receiving annual mammograms at age 40, with added vigilance for those in historically overlooked populations. 

Both shared updated guidance in the Journal of the American College of Radiology on June 18. Their recommendations are based on an “extensive” data from randomized controlled trials and peer-reviewed literature. 

“Since our most recent guideline, new data are available to evaluate the impact of screening using advanced-stage and fatal breast cancers, to assess the utilization and benefits of [digital breast tomosynthesis], and to evaluate disparities in breast cancer screening and treatment among minority women,” Debra Monticciolo, MD, vice chair of the department of radiology and section chief of breast imaging at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple, and co-authors wrote Friday. “With this guideline, we offer recommendations more inclusive of all women of average risk for breast cancer.”

ACR continues to recommend annual mammography starting at age 40, touting studies showing that regular screening can reduce deaths by 40%. Delaying screening until age 45 or 50, as some have advocated, results in “unnecessary loss of life,” a concern that adversely affects minority women.

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