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US Preventative Services Task Force updates guidance for women to start getting mammograms at age 40

The independent panel of medical experts had previously recommended those screenings to start at age 50.

Thema Ponton

Apr 30, 2024, 10:03 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) is now recommending that women should get a mammogram at least every other year, starting at age 40.
The independent panel of medical experts had previously recommended those screenings to start at age 50.
Doctors say the updated guidance comes as they are seeing younger women diagnosed with more aggressive forms of breast cancer.
"More women are being diagnosed at a younger age...very young, I have patients in my practice that are in their twenties." said Dr. Melissa Fana, Director of Women's Health for Suffolk County at NYU Langone.
Fana also says the new advice is about avoiding confusion.
"Now we know that multiple medical societies are consistent in the message that younger women, starting at the age of 40, should have mammography," Fana says. "I would say have a mammogram every year until the age 74 and even beyond 74."
The new guidance is also about addressing health disparities from screening and treatment for women of color. Doctors say Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Early screening is aimed at reducing that gap.
"I think we can save a lot more lives, I'm so happy that they came out with this." said Geri Barish, Executive Director of Hewlett House, a Long Island community resource center for cancer patients. Barish, who was first diagnosed herself with breast cancer at 39, is now a five-time cancer survivor and tells News 12 she is thrilled about the announcement from the USPSTF. "It's about time." said Barish.
Fana said about the new guidelines, "Breast cancer, what it was thirty years ago, forty years ago, or in the days of our grandmother's or great-grandmother's is not what it is today...we have the knowledge and power to identify breast cancers early and to treat them effectively and cure women."


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