American Cancer Society new guidelines recommend fewer mammogram - KPTV - FOX 12

American Cancer Society new guidelines recommend fewer mammograms, screen later

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The American Cancer Society released new guidelines that suggest less screening may be more beneficial for most women.

This change really impacts younger women with an average risk of breast cancer, not those with high risk, like a family history.

A local oncologist told FOX 12 this reflects a change in how we find and treat cancer based on each individual patient.

When it comes to mammogram screenings, 45 is the new 40.

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society said women with the average risk of breast cancer should start getting annual mammograms at 45 instead of 40. Women 55 and older may switch to getting mammograms every two years or keep getting the annual screening.

These changes are not for women with high risk of breast cancer.

While some doctors may be concerned insurance plans may decide not to cover costs of early mammograms or that the guidelines may shift focus away from catching cancer early, the American Cancer Society said the change will reduce unnecessary harm to many women.

"If she starts screening at the age of 40, she increases dramatically the lifetime risk that she's going to have a false positive result, that she's going to get a breast biopsy that turns out with the doctor saying, 'you don't have cancer, sorry we put you through all of this,'" said Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer at American Cancer Society.

"I don't think there's anything magical about being 45. I think it's all about a younger woman is less likely to get breast cancer and a younger woman is a lot more likely to have denser breasts, and it's going to be more difficult to use that mammogram. That's not true about every woman," said Dr. Alison Conlin, Medical Oncologist at Providence Cancer Center.

Dr. Conlin said the new guidelines reflect a move to more individualized care, and should encourage women to talk with their doctors about their own risk factors for breast cancer and when to start getting mammograms.

"I support any kind of discussion between your provider. I don't think every woman needs to start at an exact age. I think what each woman does is not dependent on any one guideline," said Dr. Conlin.

The American Cancer Society guidelines no longer recommend a clinical breast exam, those are exams done in the doctor's office.

The group did point out that the guidelines should not stop a woman who wants extra screening at any age from getting it.

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