A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology suggests that annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40 provide women the best chance at finding, treating and surviving breast cancer, says Dr. Robert Arnett, a breast imaging specialist with Inland Imaging in Spokane. “The evidence is clear, and we want to make sure that women understand that they really can make a difference in their own health by having an annual screening mammogram once they turn 40,” said Arnett.
The study was conducted by Samir B. Patel, MD, of Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Indiana. Dr. Patel compared overall stage I to IV mortalities of patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 2010 and 2014 in an effort to discern which national screening guidelines offer women the best odds of overcoming the disease.
The American College of Radiology (ACR), as well as the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), recommend annual screening mammography for women after they turn 40 years old.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians suggest biennial screening for women between 50 and 74 years of age. The American Cancer Society and American Society of Breast Surgeons strongly recommend screening mammography annually between 45 and 54 years old, at which point women are urged to switch to biennial exams.
Data from computer models comparing different screening mammography recommendations show the greatest mortality reduction among those receiving screening mammograms beginning at age 40.
Among the organizations offering recommendations, the study’s author found that annual screening mammograms commencing at age 40 as recommended by the ACR, SBI and NCCN had the lowest rate of invasive cancers. It also had the lowest mortality rates across the board, with five-year risk of death reaching just 10.1 percent.
According to the study, women who received annual screening exams saw a 37.3 percent reduced overall mortality rate compared to those who had a mammogram just every other year.
“Based on stage at diagnosis, the greatest mortality reduction is achieved with mammography utilization starting at the age of 40,” Patel wrote. “The results of this study are relevant to individual healthcare providers, medical groups, hospitals, health systems, administrators, policy makers and patients for a greater understanding of the potential impact of following the various national mammography guidelines from a population health perspective, because healthcare is moving toward more transparent, population value-based care.”
For more information or to schedule an annual screening mammogram, go to inlandimaging.com/breast-imaging or call (509) 455.4455.