American Cancer Society says start mammograms later

3D mammograms

CHICAGO (AP/WWLP) — The American Cancer Society has revised its recommendations on when women should start getting mammograms and how often.

The updated guidelines recommend annual breast cancer screenings at age 45 instead of 40 and switching to every other year at age 55. The update moves the society closer to guidelines from an influential task force that recommends starting routine screening at age 50.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. Both groups say women’s preferences for when to be scanned should be considered. The advice is for women at average risk of breast cancer. Doctors generally recommend more intensive screening for higher-risk women.

The update also drops a recommendation for routine physical breast exams by doctors.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton hosted a free breast and cervical cancer clinic Tuesday night.

Jennifer Wallace, a nurse practitioner, told 22News, “I think it’s very important that women are aware that there are ways that they can get an annual mammogram, which is recommended after a certain age, and that even if they don’t have insurance, there are ways to get these screenings done.”

People who are uninsured can call HealthConnect at 413-582-2848.

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The guidelines were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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