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Published on December 27, 2011

Should Women in their 40s have Mammograms?

December 27, 2011

Guidelines released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) may have some women in their 40s wondering if they should have a mammogram.

The USPSTF now recommends against routine breast cancer screening for women under the age of 50.  They say that women in their 40s should talk with their doctors about their breast cancer risk and the benefits and harms of mammograms, before deciding whether to get screened.

In addition to revising the age at which mammography screening should begin, the USPSTF also suggests changing the screening interval from one year to two, up to the age of 74.

Other expert and professional organizations (including the federal government) make a clear recommendation to women on mammography: Women in their 40s should get mammography screenings.

Current recommendations by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training:

Women in their 40s and older should have a mammography screening every one to two years.

Women who are at increased risk of breast cancer should consult their health care provider to discuss when they should have a first mammogram and how often they should be screened.

If it’s time for your annual screening mammogram, why not  do it during our This One’s for the Girls Women’s Health Event? For your convenience, schedule it during this special event. Call 815.786.33794 and mention that you’re attending the This One’s for the Girls event. (Additional cost, subject to insurance). Space is limited and registration is required. Register online at www.valleyforthegirls.org to reserve your spot today.

If you’ve already had your screening mammogram this year, you’re still welcome to attend other screenings at the event. Visit www.valleyforthegirls.org for registration and more information about the event.

Other Expert Recommendations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supports mammography for women in their 40s.

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women aged 40 to 49 years have screening mammography every 1 to 2 years. Women aged 50 years and older should have it done every year.

These organizations support and endorse mammography screening for women in their 40s based on evidence supporting its value in reducing deaths and injuries from breast cancer. Each of these organizations continually monitors and evaluates mammography screening.

Source: American Cancer Society (accessed August 24, 2010). 
Annals of Internal Medicine (accessed August 24, 2010).
American College of Physicians (accessed August 24, 2010).
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (accessed August 24, 2010).

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