Annual Mammograms Again Recommended for Women Beginning at Age 40

On July 20, 2011, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued new breast cancer screening guidelines, recommending annual mammograms for women starting at age 40. The ACOG adjusted its previous recommendation of mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40 and annually at age 50, due to the increased survival rate when breast cancer is detected early and the high number of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States. 

According to the statement released by the ACOG, the five-year survival rate is 98% when breast cancer is discovered at its earliest stage. Mammograms can detect breast cancer tumors before they are large enough to be symptomatic, allowing for a much earlier diagnosis. Jennifer Griffin, MD, MPH, who helped write the new ACOG guidelines, states, “If women in their 40’s have annual mammograms, there is a better chance of detecting and treating the cancer before it has time to spread than if they wait two years between mammograms.”

The American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging are among many organizations that also recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40.

To read the full statement issued by the ACOG, click here.