Research challenges traditional mammogram recommendations

Apr 13, 2011

Recommending more frequent mammograms at a younger age may help save lives.

The traditional mammogram recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force may not be the best instructions for preventing breast cancer and more frequent mammograms at a younger age could possibly lead to earlier detection and treatment, according to a study in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

The current guidelines recommended by the task force encourage mammographies every other year for women between ages 50 and 74, according to AJR. However, researchers took these guidelines and compared them with those of the American Cancer Society, which recommends breast cancer screenings every year for women between ages 40 and 84 and found those guidelines to be more successful in preventing cancer.

Specifically, testing younger women on an annual basis was found to save 71 percent more lives than the U.S. task force guidelines, researchers said. When related to the current compliance rate for testing of 65 percent, 64,889 more women who are currently 30 to 39 years old would be saved, according to the Journal.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in the U.S. In addition to medical hardship, the disease may also makes it difficult to obtain health and life insurance policies. 

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