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USPSTF Releases New Draft Recommendations for Mammograms

USPSTF Releases New Draft Recommendations for Mammograms

April 22, 2015 — The U.S Preventive Services Task Force on Monday released draft guidelines recommending that women ages 50 to 74 receive a mammogram every two years and that women in their 40s should make an informed, personal decision about whether to undergo a mammogram, Modern Healthcare reports.

USPSTF is accepting public comments on the draft recommendations through May 18 (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 4/20).

Background

USPSTF last released mammography recommendations in 2009, when it advised women between the ages of 50 and 74 to undergo mammograms once every two years (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/8). In those guidelines, USPSTF recommended against women in their 40s undergoing the screening (Burton, Wall Street Journal, 4/20).

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society recommends that women undergo annual breast cancer screenings starting at age 40 (Neergaard, AP/U-T San Diego, 4/21).

New Draft Recommendations

According to the Journal, USPSTF based its new draft recommendations on an analysis of eight studies on mammography conducted in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Sweden (Wall Street Journal, 4/20). The guidelines are intended for women who are at least 40 years old, have no symptoms or signs of breast cancer, have not been previously diagnosed with a high-risk breast cancer lesion, do not have a known genetic tendency to develop breast cancer and were not exposed to chest radiation when they were younger (Modern Healthcare, 4/20).

The new draft recommendations advise women in their 40s to make an "individual" decision on whether to undergo mammography that "recognize[s] the potential benefits as well as the potential harms" (Wall Street Journal, 4/20).

The draft recommendations also stated that more research is needed to determine whether women ages 75 and up should continue to receive mammograms, how to potentially improve cancer detection among women with particularly dense breasts and whether 3-D mammography should be used for standard screenings for breast cancer (AP/U-T San Diego, 4/21).