American Cancer Society Recommendations on Breast Cancer Screening
Including specific advice per age range
Detecting breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatments are the two most important strategies for preventing deaths from breast cancer. When found early — and when it’s small and has not spread — breast cancer is easier to treat successfully. Getting regular screening tests is the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early. The American Cancer Society offers screening guidelines for women at average risk of breast cancer, as well as for those at high risk for breast cancer.
Breast cancers found during screenings are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer finding and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis.
These guidelines are for women who are at an average risk for breast cancer. For screening purposes, a woman is considered to be at an average risk if she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as in a BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.
• Women ages 40-44 have the option to start screening by getting a mammogram every year.
• Women ages 45-54 should get mammograms every year.
• Women ages 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screenings should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. For more information about breast cancer, go to cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html.
Men can also develop breast cancer. For information, visit cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men.html.