If women wait until age 45 to begin annual screening, then shift to biennial screening at age 55, more than 38,000 women now in their 40s will die unnecessarily.
With the recent publication of new American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines on breast cancer screening,1 we finally have achieved a consensus. All major organizations, including the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), agree that the most lives are saved by annual screening beginning at age 40. This is the only science-backed finding of their reviews.
Here is a statement from the USPSTF: “[We] found adequate evidence that mammography screening reduces breast cancer mortality in women ages 40 to 74 years.”2 And from the ACS: “Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 years.”1
Regrettably, the USPSTF, whose guidelines determine insurance coverage, endangers women by going on to suggest that they can wait until the age of 50 to begin screening and then wait a full 2 years between screens.