When to start annual mammograms has been a topic of heated debate during the past few years. While some believe mammograms detect early breast cancer for younger women, others fear that the radiation a woman is subjected to during her mammogram (which typically consist of two x-rays per breast) isn’t worth the risk.
In fact, in 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended that annual mammograms be delayed until age 50. The American Cancer Society, however, recommends annual screenings beginning at 40.
A new 10-year study found that annual mammograms for all women, regardless of risk, should be administered starting at 40. Rochester, NY, radiologist Stamatia V. Destounis, MD, studied 1,071 women aged 40 to 49 during the study, and found that they were equally likely to develop invasive breast cancer that spread to the lymph nodes whether they had a family history of breast cancer or not.
The study’s author, who presented these findings at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, says that because family risk cannot be a determining factor, annual mammograms are essential.
What is your take? Do you think annual mammograms starting at 40 are necessary?
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