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 its 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 radiologist 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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