Is 50 The New 40? Age Recommendations Change In New Mammogram Guidelines

As a woman’s 40th birthday approaches, her first routine mammogram becomes a pressing thought rather than part of a hypothetical future. However, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, she may not need to schedule that appointment until her 50th birthday.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force independent panel is advising Congress that new guidelines should be adopted, citing evidence that supports yearly mammograms for females in their 40s is too weak. The new recommendations suggest mammograms beginning at 50 and performed every two years thereafter.

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The draft of the mammography recommendations issued in April 2015 by the task force has been met with controversy. Annual mammograms save lives, argues Dr. Debra Monticciolo, chair of the American College of Radiology’s Breast Imaging Commission. “From a woman’s perspective, this is the most important reason to have a mammogram – to decrease the chance that she will die of breast cancer,” she told U.S. News. Monticciolo also pointed out that the task force did not include any breast cancer experts on the panel, citing they have eliminated crucial knowledge for the public.

According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, women can still choose to have screenings before 50 years of age, but the decision should be based on the patient’s values, health condition and individual choice. The new guidelines, though, may cause complications for patients seeking coverage for mammograms before the age of 50 under their health insurance.

As medical experts continue to modify guidelines and recommendations, researchers are working to develop innovative tests, procedures and cures for the protection of the public. You can help low-income women get the screening tests they need by donating to one of our Gifts That Give more.

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