Message to Our Patients
This week, the American Cancer Society (ACS) revised their guidelines on breast cancer screening for women. The new ACS guidelines recommend that women with an average risk of breast cancer receive annual mammograms starting at age 45. Additionally, the latest guidelines recommend mammograms every two years for women age 55 and older. While these changes are important, the ACS recommends that women between the ages of 40 and 44 have the opportunity to start annual mammograms. Finally, and similar to past guidelines on this topic, the ACS does not recommend breast self-exams.
Despite the latest changes to breast cancer screening guidelines, we at Adventist Healthcare, acknowledge that mammography screening saves lives and early detection is critical for improving breast cancer survival. Several well-respected organizations, including the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, continue to recommend screening mammograms beginning at age 40 and yearly thereafter for most women while they are in good health.
The latest breast cancer screening guidelines may create confusion and concern among women who are unsure about when and how to be screened for breast cancer. We encourage women to discuss breast cancer screening with a physician or other healthcare provider to make an informed decision based on personal and family health history. For women who are considered high-risk based on their personal or family history, additional supplemental screening with tools such as MRI may also be recommended. Mammograms are still considered the best tool for screening, and can detect up to 85% of all breast cancers, despite the recognized limitations of false positive exams and patient anxiety.