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New Guidelines: Mammograms for Breast Cancer Screening Now Recommended at Age 40

Ackerman Cancer Center

May 1, 2024

In a recent health alert, the U.S. Services Preventive Task Force announced a significant shift in the recommended age for women to begin receiving mammograms for breast cancer screening. The new guidelines advise women to start getting mammograms at the age of 40, marking a departure from the previous recommendation of commencing screenings at age 50. 

This change comes as health experts noticed the shift to younger women being diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Ackerman joined the WJXT team to discuss the importance of early detection in combating breast cancer. Dr. Ackerman acknowledged the concerning trend of a rise in breast cancer diagnoses among women in their 40s and early 50s over the past 15 years. This increase prompted a re-evaluation of when women should begin seeking mammograms. 

According to Dr. Ackerman, initiating breast cancer screenings at age 40 enables doctors to detect abnormalities sooner, potentially leading to earlier intervention and improved outcomes. Annual mammograms starting at this age are now strongly advised, with studies estimating a significant reduction of up to 20% in breast cancer deaths among women in their 40s who follow this proactive approach. 

To support these new guidelines, advanced breast imaging technologies are becoming increasingly available. Ackerman Cancer Center proudly offers 3D Mammography. This cutting-edge technology provides higher-resolution images by capturing thin slices of breast tissue, offering clearer insights for early detection. 

For women deemed high-risk or those with dense breast tissue, Contrast-Enhanced Mammography (CEM) is recommended. CEM utilizes contrast agents to enhance image resolution, aiding in the detection of cancerous tissue. This specialized approach proves particularly beneficial for women with dense breasts, where traditional mammograms may yield less clear results. 

In light of these advancements and revised guidelines, women need to prioritize their breast health by scheduling regular mammograms, beginning at age 40. 

Watch the full segment with Dr. Ackerman and WJXT here.  

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