In 2015, the American Cancer Society released new guidelines for breast cancer screening. The organization recommends mammography for all women to promote early detection of and treatment for breast cancer.
According to the new guidelines, women with an average risk of breast cancer, a category that includes the majority of women, may need to begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
If a woman is concerned about the risk of breast cancer, she could talk to a health care provider about beginning annual screening at age 40.
Beginning at age 55, the official mammogram recommendation is every other year. Research has shown that this interval preserves the benefits of screening while minimizing its risks.
However, women older than age 55 can continue annual screenings if they choose. These regular mammograms may need to continue as long as a woman is in good health.
Certain women who are at higher than average risk for breast cancer may need to get both a screening MRI and a mammogram every year, starting as early as age 30.
The high-risk category includes women who have a lifetime risk of breast cancer higher than 20 percent based on risk assessment tools; have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or have a parent, sister, brother, or child with one of these mutations; had radiation therapy to the chest between ages 10 and 30; or have a first degree relative who has Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome.
For women who are at moderate risk, an MRI screening in addition to mammogram may be effective, but currently there may not be enough evidence to recommend this additional test.
The moderate risk category may include women with a 15 to 20 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, those who have already had breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), or atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), and those with dense breast tissue.
It’s important to note that both breast self-exams and clinical breast exams, both long recommended as a method to detect tumors in the breast, may no longer be considered effective or as effective.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, contact Real Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery today. We may be able to provide personalized recommendations based on guidelines and your risk factors to develop a screening protocol that you can feel comfortable with.