New guidance for Breast Cancer screenings

Health

According to the American College of Physicians, average-risk women between the ages of 50 and 74 should undergo breast cancer screenings with mammography every other year.

Evidence suggest annual mammography results result in more harm than undergoing the screening every other year.

The statement in the Annals of Internal Medicine say little difference exists in breast cancer mortality for screening every year versus every other year.

The harm of annual screening can include overdiagnosis, overtreatment, false positives, radiation exposure as well as the added stress the procedures cause. 

The American College of Physicians also mentions that women should talk with their doctors about screening at age 40, but to start screening at age 50 and then every other year until the age of 74.

The guidance statement does not apply to patients with previous abnormal screenings or to higher risk populations like women with a history of breast cancer.

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