Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Posted by: Gary Burgoine, MD
The American Cancer Society recently revised its recommendations for when women should begin having mammograms to screen for breast cancer and how often. While these guidelines might seem to confuse the issue, they still support screening women as early as age 40 and as frequently as every year, if that is a woman’s preference.
The American Cancer Society’s revised recommendations include:
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
- All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.
Women's Healthcare Associates continues to offer mammograms to screen for breast cancer to women starting at age 40 and encourages women to have screening every one to two years based on their own unique risk, including age, current state of health and family history. Two women with the same risk may make different choices about when to start and how often based on their own needs and preferences. This is consistent with the recommendations of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and their response to the changes in the ACS guidelines.
We would encourage women, if they have questions, to discuss this with their nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife or doctor. WHA clinicians can help women better define their current and lifetime breast cancer risk, and also coordinate consultation about genetic testing or medical therapy for women who are high risk.
There are several other advocacy organizations that have published guidelines for breast cancer screening. Medical specialty organizations, such as ACOG and the colleges of Family Practice (ACFP) and Internal Medicine (ACIM) generally endorse or support the recommendations from these organizations:
Screening guidelines will continue to evolve as new research on both screening and treatment of disease is published and reviewed. Women’s Healthcare Associates stays up to date on the latest information, including changes to screening recommendations, and will help women apply them to their own care.
Make an appointment to discuss your unique breast cancer risk and create a screening plan that's right for you.
Dr. Gary Burgoine is a board-certified OB/GYN physician and surgeon who sees patients at the Tualatin office of Women’s Healthcare Associates. He is also the Director of Clinical Informatics and Quality Improvement. A lifelong Oregonian, Dr. Burgoine attend both the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University. In addition to the honor of caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth, he enjoys the diverse scope of practice of OB/GYN, particularly minimally invasive and robotic surgery, gynecologic imaging and ultrasound, contraception and vulvar disease. Outside of the office, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, gardening, woodworking and reading.