Screening for breast cancer

In a good news/bad news kind of article, it suggested that most women are receiving their mammograms by the age of 40, but aren’t following-up as suggested:

A new study finds most women now follow the recommendation to receive their first screening mammogram at age 40, but there is widespread failure to return promptly for subsequent exams and several sub-populations of women still are not being screened by the recommended age. . .

. . . Specific sub-populations, however, delayed mammography. Women who did not speak English did not begin screening mammography until a median age of 49. Women who did not have private health insurance did not begin screening until age 46.

What are the current recommendations for mammography? They are summarized here, from UptoDate:

The American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, American Medical Association, and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology all recommend starting routine screening at age 40. The third United States Preventive Services Task Force and the 2002 statement by the American Academy of Family Practice recommend screening mammography every one to two years for women ages 40 and older.

So, we’re off to a good start. The next step would be to improve future mammography follow-up, as well as reaching out to minorities and those without health insurance.

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