What do the experts really say about guidelines on when to start annual mammograms?
Dr. Jill Steinkeler, Director of Breast Imaging at Lowell General Hospital, recommends all women at average or typical risk of developing breast cancer begin their yearly mammogram at age 40. She and her colleagues follow the guidelines set forth by some of the most respected organizations in the industry, including the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Why First at 40?
- Breast cancer occurrence increases substantially around age 40.
- The breast cancer occurrence rate for women in their 40s is 2-3 times higher than it is for women in their 30s.
Your breast health is important. That’s why we made it even easier to come in for a mammogram, with convenient online scheduling. At Lowell General Hospital, we have four convenient locations where you’ll find some of the region’s leading breast health and cancer prevention experts and the latest 3D imaging technology.
The Experts Agree
Despite some variance in the guidelines, these medical organizations affirm that if you and your doctor agree, 40 is the appropriate age to start screening.
|The Experts||Minimum Age to Start||How Often|
|American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists||40||Every Year|
|American College of Radiology/Society of Breast Imaging||40||Every Year|
|American Medical Association||40||Every Year|
|National Comprehensive Cancer Network||40||Every Year|
|American Cancer Society||40 (Individual Choice)||45-54 (Every year)
55-On (Every 1-2 years)
|U.S. Preventive Services Task Force||40 (Individual Choice)||50-74 (Every 2 years)|
Why doctors insist on annual screening mammograms
The earlier your cancer is identified, the more likely it can be treated successfully. Regular monitoring with annual screening mammograms is important to detect changes that might indicated cancer. The size and extent of cancer at the time of detection can determine a patient’s prognosis and course of treatment.
3D mammograms and why they are important
Changes in your breasts often show up in a mammogram long before you can feel them in a self-exam. 3D mammography, or Tomosynthesis, has the power to detect lumps hidden by overlapping breast tissue, and has been shown to increase the detection rate of breast cancer.
Jill A. Steinkeler, M.D.
Justin R. Routhier, M.D.
Women’s Imaging Services at Lowell General Hospital possesses a valid license and certificate of inspection issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.