Early detection and regular breast cancer screenings are key to reducing death from breast cancer. Mammograms remain the best tool available and have been shown to reduce deaths from breast cancer. That’s why Mayo Clinic recommends women start screening mammograms yearly at age 40. While that recommendation has been firm for the past 10 years, other institutions have shifted the recommended screening age over the years.
The latest to consider a change is the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is proposing changing its guidelines to recommend all women begin screening mammography at age 40, a decade earlier than previous guidelines.
Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, with Mayo Clinic’s Breast Diagnostic Clinic and Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, is pleased to see the shift.
“Mayo Clinic has always taken the stance to screen beginning age 40, every year. And I think other organizations are doing that. And these (recommendations) are now coming closer together. The importance of initiating mammography at age 40 is nice to see this happening,” said Pruthi.
Women at a high risk of breast cancer, such as those who have a family history or those who have a genetic mutation that might increase their risk of developing breast cancer, may need earlier and/or more frequent screening.