Offer Annual Mammograms to Women 40 Years and Older, Says ACOG

August 16, 2011

Mammography screening should be offered annually to women beginning at age 40 years, according to a new recommendation by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College).1 This change was brought about by the high incidence of breast cancer in the United States. Early detection of breast cancer has the potential to reduce the number of breast cancer–related deaths. The College previously recommended that women aged 40 years receive mammograms every 1 to 2 years and women aged 50 years have mammograms annually.

Mammography screening should be offered annually to women beginning at age 40 years, according to a new recommendation by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College).1 This change was brought about by the high incidence of breast cancer in the United States. Early detection of breast cancer has the potential to reduce the number of breast cancer–related deaths. The College previously recommended that women aged 40 years receive mammograms every 1 to 2 years and women aged 50 years have mammograms annually.

The College made this change based on 3 factors: the incidence of breast cancer, the sojourn time for breast cancer growth, and the potential to reduce the number of breast cancer–related deaths. Women aged 40 to 49 years have the shortest average sojourn time (the period between when a breast cancer is able to be detected and before it becomes large enough to cause symptoms) at 2 to 2.4 years.

“If women in their 40s have annual mammograms, there is a better chance of detecting and treating the cancer before it has time to spread than if they wait two years between mammograms,” said Jennifer Griffin, MD, MPH, a coauthor of the new guidelines.

More Information

CDC:Screening for Breast CancerNational Cancer Institute: PDQ

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References:

1. Practice bulletin no. 122: breast cancer screening. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;118(2 pt 1):372-382.