New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

June 7, 2023

On Wednesday May 3, 2023, the American College of Radiology (ACR) released new breast cancer screening guidelines.  These new guidelines call for increased vigilance among certain patient populations.  The College states all women should undergo risk assessments by age 25 to determine if they should start screening mammograms before they turn 40.  ACR also emphasized the need for more intensive screening among certain women of color that face an increased risk of developing the disease.

Furthermore, ACR recommends that those with genetics-based predispositions, calculated lifetime risk of 20% or greater, and those individuals exposed to chest radiation at a young age, undergo MRI surveillance at ages 25-30.  Depending on risk factors, they additionally should begin annual mammography screening between the ages of 25-40.  In addition, women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 (or with a personal history of the disease and dense tissue) should have annual supplemental MRIs.  For those patients who cannot receive magnetic resonance imaging, they should consider contrast-enhanced mammography or ultrasound.

Screening mammography has led to a 43% decrease in breast cancer death since the 1980s after seeing the numbers stay stagnant for 50 years prior.  The mortality rates among some women have decreased about half as fast as those for others; therefore, recommendations are being put in place to start screenings eight years earlier to help address the disparities.  It is the hope that these evidence-based updates will lead to more informed doctor-patient conversations and help save more lives.  

Please click here to review the article from the Journal of the American College of Radiology.