New Screening Guide for Women in 40s
The National Cancer Institute on Friday changed its existing guidelines for mammography screening and no longer recommends that women aged 40 to 49 have mammograms on a regular basis to detect breast cancer.
Instead, the institute issued a brief statement that said there is “general consensus” among scientific experts that routine mammography reduces the death rate for women age 50 and older.
The new statement applies only to routine screening for women without symptoms of breast cancer and not to breast X-rays for women with signs of the disease.
Like numerous other private medical and advocacy groups, the institute since 1987 had advised women aged 40 to 49 without symptoms of breast cancer to have a mammogram every one or two years, and women 50 and over to have one annually.
Eighteen outside groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Assn., issued statements on Nov. 22 urging women to stick with the existing guidelines.