- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released new breast cancer screening guidelines recommending mammograms every two years for women starting at age 50, adding they should be optional for women in their 40s, Modern Healthcare reported.
- The recommendations put the government at odds with American Cancer Society guidelines issued last October.
- Each year, about 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,000 die from the disease.
Under the new guidelines, doctors should offer biennial mammograms to women ages 50 to 74, and to 40-something women who may be at higher risk for breast cancer.
By contrast, the ACS guidelines urge women to get annual mammograms beginning at age 45 and continuing until age 54, and then every other year thereafter.
The task force believes screening 10,000 women in their 50s will prevent twice as many deaths as screening women in their 40s, according to Reuters.
Critics worry the government’s approach could lead insurers to not cover screenings for younger women. To prevent this occurring, Congress added an amendment to the 2016 spending bill ensuring reimbursement for mammograms for women in their 40s.
The recommendations, which reaffirm the task force’s 2009 guidelines, were published in Monday’s issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.