Mammograms at the age of 40 may benefit half of women

Mammograms at the age of 40 may benefit half of women

A new study shows that women at the age of 40 should undergo a mammogram, as nearly half of them would benefit from the breast cancer screening. For the review, the researchers found that half of the women aged 40 to 44 had above average risk for breast cancer, which made them eligible for yearly screenings.

Lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Plichta said, “We believe formal risk assessment is essential for women aged 40 to 44 in order to identify those who require screening mammography to start at the age of 40, and those who would qualify for screening MRIs and genetic testing.”

The latest American Cancer Society guidelines suggest that women can wait until age 45 or 50 for their mammogram screening. The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS) also updated their guidelines with a few more details, which included:

  • Women should have mammograms prior to 45 years of age if their risk of developing breast cancer exceeds 15 percent.
  • Women with 20 percent or higher should also undergo MRI.
  • Women with at least a five-percent risk of a breast cancer-related genetic mutation should undergo genetic testing.

Plichta added, “Critical to the development and interpretation of both of these new guidelines is formal risk assessment. Furthermore, risk assessment is needed not only to determine who qualifies for mammography, but also who may require screening MRIs and/or genetic testing.”

The study involved over 900 women of which 50 percent met the ASBS criteria for screening. Thirty-two percent met the standards for regular MRI screening and 25 percent were eligible for genetic screening.

The researchers recommend that doctors do their due diligence in proper breast cancer screening for women at the age of 40.



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