When and How Often Should You Have Screening Mammograms?

breast cancer awarenessIt’s an unfortunate statistic, we all know someone with breast cancer – mother, sister, daughter, friend. About one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

That’s why early detection is so important. Screening mammograms can detect breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage, up to three years before lumps can be detected during breast self-examination or clinical examination.

However, there is conflicting information about when and how often women should have screening mammograms.

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued revised mammogram guidelines, calling for biennial mammograms for women 50 to 74. For younger women, the panel advised physicians and patients to determine on an individual basis whether they should have mammograms. The guidance was a shift from the USPSTF’s previous recommendations, which called for women in their 40s to undergo mammograms every one to two years.

On June 19, 2012, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy that starting at age 40, all women should be eligible for screening mammography. The policy also supports insurance coverage for this screening.

So when and how often should you have a screening mammogram? Richmond Ob-Gyn and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend annual screening mammograms for all women over the age of 40. If you have any questions, please contact your physician at Richmond OB-Gyn.

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