The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a report that questioned the necessity of routine mammograms for women in their 40s and suggested that women older than 50 should be screened less frequently. These recommendations are based on research which found a higher risk of negative outcomes related to mammography for women in their 40s, such as unnecessary imaging tests and biopsies, that could be reduced if testing in that age group was limited and performed based on individual risk factors. The report also states that screening every two years among women ages 50–75 is as effective as and more efficient than annual screening.
The USPSTF recommendations were startling because they went against the conventional knowledge that many women have adopted, that early and frequent breast cancer screening saves lives. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists continues to recommend that women in their 40s have a mammogram every two years and that women in their 50s and older have an annual mammogram. The American Cancer Society stands by its recommendation to start annual screening at 40 and to continue as long as a woman remains in good health.
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