In response to a guidance statement from the American College of Physicians recommending that women in their 50s with average risk and no symptoms of breast cancer only receive mammography screening every two years, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is reaffirming its support for annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40.
The ACP’s recent decision mirrors the recommendations offered by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts in evidence-based medicine. However, many health care organizations including American College of Radiology and ASRT continue to support annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screenings at age 45.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (only lung cancer kills more women each year). Breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women. The progress is attributed to improvements in early detection.
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ASRT recommends that women take three steps to detect breast cancer early:
Perform breast self-exams every month beginning at age 20.
Obtain clinical breast exams by a health care professional every three years between the ages of 18 and 39, and every year from age 40.
Undergo screening mammograms annually from age 40. Woman at high risk might need more frequent screening.