Our SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY RECOMMENDATIONS:
AVERAGE Risk Women
- Screening mammograms at age 40
- Every year thereafter as long as reasonably healthy
HIGH Risk Women
- Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may benefit from starting screening earlier than age 40
- Consult physician about when to start mammography & if any additional imaging is needed such as high risk breast MRI
Should women over 75 be screened for breast cancer?
- Perform monthly breast exam
- Learn to identify possible changes in breasts
- Continue yearly check-ups & clinical breast exams by health care providers
Women with breast density of “heterogeneously dense” or “extremely dense” have been shown to be at increased risk for breast cancer by several studies on breast density published over the last 20 years. The degree of risk is controversial as studies to date have reported drastically different results. We believe there is a considerable risk for these women, even without any other risk factors present (such as family history of breast cancer). The risk is based on the masking of breast cancer (the inability to identify an abnormality that may be a malignancy) in dense breast tissue as well as the inherent higher risk of cancer for women with this type of tissue.
The percentage of women we care for yearly with this type of breast density is approximately 43% of women of all ages having a routine mammogram. In January of 2013, New York State adopted the law of informing patients and their practitioners of breast density. In the last year we have seen a trend of women with this type of breast tissue return for a screening breast ultrasound after notification was given to them by our staff and our radiologists. However, since the onset of the law, less than 10% of women with dense tissue who we have informed returned for a screening ultrasound. In the small percentage of women that do return, we are discovering mammographically occult cancers at three per 1000 women, which is comparable to published studies performed on screening ultrasound in average risk women. We believe screening ultrasound is a reasonable, accessible tool for breast cancer detection to be used in addition to the screening mammogram.
For more information, please visit DenseBreast-info.org
The Society of Breast Imaging developed this whiteboard animation to end the confusion around when and how often women should get mammography screening. Take a few minutes to watch it and then share it.
Washington Post Article: What you need to know about new mammogram guidelines: