The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging applaud and support updated American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) recommendations that women begin getting annual mammograms at age 40. The updated ACOG recommendations now correspond with those of the American Cancer Society, ACR, Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) and many other major medical associations with demonstrated expertise in breast cancer care.
Three decades of research shows that mammography saves lives. Recently, Tabar et al, an update to a landmark study that involved 130,000 women followed over 29 years, re-confirmed that regular mammography screening reduced the breast cancer death rate by 30 percent. This follows the report of the largest breast cancer screening trial ever performed (Hellquist et al), involving a million women over 16 years, which proved that mammography screening reduced breast cancer deaths in women 40-49 by 29 percent. Both fit with National Cancer Institute data that shows that since mammography screening became widespread in 1990, the U.S. breast cancer death rate, previously unchanged for 50 years, has dropped 37 percent.
The updated ACOG recommendations, now in-step with those of breast cancer experts, differ from the guidelines of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
ACOG, like ACR, SBI, and others, placed greater importance on saving lives while the USPSTF was primarily concerned with reducing false positive studies, most of which are resolved by a few additional mammographic views or ultrasound. The USPSTF relied largely on computer modeling to argue that, in women 40-49, only those with a family history of breast cancer or other high-risk factors should be screened and that women 50-74 be screened biennially. However, there is no scientific data to support the age of 50 as a biological threshold for screening. It has been artificially marked
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American College of Radiology