When to Start Mammograms


Start annual mammograms at 40, right? Well….it depends on who is answering the question.

The American Cancer Society and a federal task force recently changed their guidelines, increasing the starting age to 45 and 50, respectively.

But the recommendation of the American College of Radiology – the professional organization for radiologists – is still at 40, says Jennifer Brien, MD, a diagnostic radiologists on the medical staff at Baptist Health Paducah. Those with a family history of breast cancer should begin screening 10 years prior to the age of cancer onset in a premenopausal family member.

So how is a woman supposed to figure out what’s right for her?

“Really, it’s just having a very open and honest conversation with your doctor,” Dr. Brien said.

The organizations that made changes were seeking to reduce false positive results and the accompanying anxiety. Dr. Brien said that the benefits of mammography as a tool outweigh the risks.



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