Mammography Screening Must Commence At Age 40 Years

Modification to previous recommendations

The August issue of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin on Breast Cancer Screening has modified the previous recommendation for annual mammography screening in women. The previous recommendation advised women aged fifty and above a mammography every year. However, the modified recommendation suggests that women over forty years must undergo a mammography annually to screen for symptoms of breast cancer.

Recommendation by experts

Jennifer Griffin, M.D., M.P.H., who is a committee member of the Practice Bulletins, Gynecology, ACOG, in Washington D.C. along with her colleagues reviewed the previous recommendations. Analyzing the available information starting from 1990 and ending in 2011, the members modified the existing guidelines. The researchers looked for evidence to support and grade their recommendations of formulating new guidelines for annual breast cancer screening.

Breast cancer affects a large percentage of American women

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of non-cutaneous cancer that affects a large percentage of American women. In addition, this form of malignancy is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in the female population of the United States of America. However, early detection of the malignancy and improved methods to treating the cancer has significantly decreased the number of deaths due to breast cancer.

Three recommended methods for breast cancer screening

The ACOG recommends three methods for screening of breast cancer. These include an annual mammography, breast examination using clinical tests, and self-examination of the breasts. Previously, the recommended age of women to undergo an annual mammography was fifty years. The new research guidelines now recommend the age as forty in women to undergo a mammography every year. This increases the possibility of detecting the cancer in its early stages and effectively treating the malignancy.

Other guidelines to detect early stage breast cancer

The ACOG recommends that women aged forty and over must undergo a clinical breast examination annually. The women aged between twenty and thirty-nine years must undergo the clinical breast examination once in three years to detect and treat breast cancer in the early stages. Breast self-examination must be undertaken regularly in women from the age of twenty years. Moreover, self-awareness and educational campaigns must be provided to educate women about the fatal disease. Finally, advanced breast cancer screening is advised in women who have an estimated risk of twenty percent or more and in women who test positive for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.