Mammograms should begin at 40, not 50, according to a US health council 2023


According to a proposed recommendation from a federal task force, women should begin receiving mammograms every other year at age 40 rather than waiting until age 50.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has long recommended that women begin breast cancer screening as early as age 40, with a firmer recommendation that they receive X-ray examinations every two years from 50 to 74 years of age.

If the draft proposal is finalized, Tuesday’s update would signal a change in the influential panel’s guidelines, but it is unlikely to eliminate confusion. Other health groups differ regarding screening frequency and frequency.

This new recommendation will help save lives and prevent more women from succumbing from breast cancer, according to Dr. Carol Mangione, the former chief of the task force.

A federal task panel recommends starting every-other-year mammograms at 40 instead than 50.

The task force noted that African-American women are 40% more likely to perish from breast cancer than white women, making mammograms at age 40 an especially crucial step, but also urged additional research to better understand and combat the disparity.

The task force also noted that nearly half of all women have dense breasts, suggesting that mammograms may not be as effective, and called for additional research to determine if additional forms of testing would be beneficial.

The proposed recommendation pertains to women with a moderate risk of breast cancer, but not to those with an extremely high risk due to hereditary or other factors. The public has until June 5 to provide feedback, after which the task force will determine whether to finalize the proposal.

Although cancer fatalities have been declining for years, breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer mortality among American women, behind lung cancer.

Health organizations have long had differing screening recommendations, attempting to strike a balance between detecting breast cancer early and averting an excessive number of false alarms caused by X-rays detecting noncancerous blips.

The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women ages 45 to 54; however, women can begin screenings at age 40 and transition to every other year screenings at age 55.

The American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms for women at average risk of breast cancer beginning at age 40, but urges young women to be evaluated for risk factors requiring even earlier screening.

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