Doctors’ orders differ on mammogram guidelines
It appears medical experts may still be divided when it comes to routine mammograms.
Mammograms are an x-ray picture of the breast, which can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease.
"Screening saves lives. We see it here everyday," says Rocky Green, director of operations at Peninsula Imaging.
While most experts would agree mammograms can save lives through detection, there are conflicting guidelines on when women should start routine screenings.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends getting mammograms every two years starting at age 50 for all women. In 2015, the American Cancer Society relaxed its guidelines recommending women with an average risk of breast cancer wait until age 45 instead of 40 for regular screenings. Just recently, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended annual mammograms starting at age 40.
The report was published in JAMA Internal Magazine on Monday, leaving some women 47ABC spoke to conflicted on what they should do.
"Maybe it's possibly because of new information that they might get scientifically, a new breakthrough, something like that, and hopefully it's for the better," says Salisbury resident Megan Robertson.
Green tells 47ABC Peninsula Imaging follows guidelines set by the American College of Radiology, which recommends screenings starting at age 40; however, Green says age is only one factor.
He adds medical experts need to help patients make informed decisions based on what's needed for them and handle it case by case.
"I think what's important is they want to have the conversation with the patient about what their most comfortable with," he says. "Do they feel a lump? How about your family history? Should we start earlier? Should we start later?"
According to cancer.org, an estimated 252,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. in 2017, plus more than 63,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.