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Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Mammography is one of the best ways to find breast cancer at an early stage, at a time that it may be too small to notice, but when it is easier to treat.  If treated early, most people fully recover from breast cancer.  Men and women should talk to their health care provider about which tests are right for them and when to get them. No insurance? Call the Cancer Services Program at 631-548-6320.

Different groups have different guidelines regarding breast cancer screening:

American Cancer Society:

  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
  • Clinical breast exam, done by a health care provider, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
  • Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.

Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.

American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)*:

  • The USPSTF recommends screening mammography once every two years for women aged 50 to 74 years.
  • The decision to start regular, mammography once every two years before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take patient context into account, including the patient's values regarding specific benefits and harms.
  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of screening mammography in women 75 years or older.

* The USPSTF is an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and is composed of primary care providers. The USPSTF conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services (such as screening, counseling, and preventive medications) and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians and health systems.

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