The US Preventive Services task force recommends mammograms every two years for women, beginning at age 50. They suggest that a decision to obtain a mammogram before 50 years of age should be based on individual factors, including a woman’s individual level of concern about detecting breast cancer. They further recommend that women may stop getting mammograms at the age of 75. They also recommend against attempting breast self examination because they feel it commonly leads to unnecessary anxiety and concerns, and that mammography itself should be sufficient to detect breast cancer at an early stage. The task force also doesn’t believe either digital mammography or breast MRI provides significant advantages over conventional mammograms and, thus, does not recommend that they replace the standard procedure for this preventive measure.
This recommendation has been somewhat controversial as other organizations continue to recommend mammography beginning at age 40 and continues to recommend it be done annually. The reason that the USPSTF changed their recommendation is based on data that indicate the more conservative recommendations do not provide additional benefits and, thus, can be relaxed. I believe that women who have increased risk of breast cancer (e.g., first degree relative family history), should begin receiving mammograms at age 40.
If you have questions about these recommendations, please contact me or make an appointment to discuss this.