• Mayo expert: Begin yearly mammogram screening at age 40

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force makes new recommendations for when and how often women should have mammograms. They say women at average risk of breast cancer should begin screening with mammography at age 50 and then continue screening every other year. It also says that the decision to start regular, biennial screening mammography before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take patient context into account, including the patient's values regarding specific benefits and harms.

Mayo Clinic breast cancer specialist Dr. Sandhya Pruthi doesn’t completely agree with these recommendations. “I’m not in agreement with the guidelines per se, I think that we still have to bring into the context of the picture what the values of the individual is and what risk factors she brings to the table."

She adds, “I’m still recommending that women have mammograms beginning age 40 and have that yearly. But along with that, I think it’s just as important that women be familiar with their breast tissue, and if they notice anything new or there’s a change in the texture or the appearance that that should be promptly evaluated by their doctors.”

Journalists: Sound bites are available in the downloads. Click here for the transcript.

Related articles