July 16, 2019 by Peter B. Laird
When to Get a Mammogram
Guidelines for undergoing a mammography have shifted over the years, depending on which medical association is writing the guidelines.
Most recently, the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) went on record to be more in line with the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Breast Surgeons and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (UPSTF) by recommending screening mammograms every year or two starting at age 40, with regular screening starting no later than age 50.
Baptist Health South Florida supports annual mammograms for women at average risk starting at age 40.
With so many differing suggestions and frequent changes, how can a women be sure she’s following the right guidelines for her?
“The problem with differing guidelines is the patient ends up in the middle of the disagreement(s) of the groups making recommendations,” said Jane Mendez, M.D., chief of breast surgery at Miami Cancer Institute. “Instead of following strict guidelines, doctors are more and more encouraging patients to have conversations with them about their individual risk factors to determine a criteria for screening.”
Dr. Mendez says a patient’s ethnicity, age, and personal and family history of cancer should also go into the equation to determine how often a woman should have a screening mammogram.
“When it comes to mammograms, it’s no longer a matter of one size fits all,” Dr. Mendez said. “Every patient is an individual, and patients really need to talk to their doctor, advocate for themselves and plan accordingly.”
One in six breast cancers occur in women age 40-49. Mammograms save lives in all women and specifically in women age 40-45. When breast cancer is found early and in a localized state, the five-year survival rate is near 100 percent, according to the National Breast Center Foundation.
Here are breast cancer screening guidelines from the American Society of Breast Surgeons:
- Women age 25 or older should undergo formal risk assessment for breast cancer.
- Women with an average risk of breast cancer should initiate yearly screening mammography at age 40.
- Women with a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer should undergo yearly screening mammography and be offered yearly supplemental imaging; this screening should be initiated at a risk-based age.
- Screening mammography should cease when life expectancy is less than 10 years.
Based on Your Level of Risk
Here are recommendations based on specific levels of risk:
Mammograms Save Lives. Schedule your mammogram today.
When breast cancer is detected early, at a localized stage, the survival rate is 98 percent. During the month of May, Baptist Health is offering special mammogram pricing to patients without insurance. Through May 31, 2019, a screening mammogram is $50, and a diagnostic mammogram is $100. The radiologist’s fee for 3D mammogram is included in the special prices. To schedule an appointment, call 786-573-6000 in Miami-Dade or Broward, 305-434-1588 in Monroe, 561-374-5300 in Palm Beach or visit BaptistHealth.net/BreastHealth.