The January 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology contains updated breast cancer screening guidelines centered around imaging techniques. These new recommendations were issued by the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging and are based on available evidence and consensus opinion where evidence is lacking. While the full manuscript with detailed recommendations can be downloaded freely from the Society of Breast Imaging's web site, a brief outline of some of the recommendations are listed below:
For women with an average risk of breast cancer, yearly mammogram screening starting at age 40 is recommended.
Annual mammogram and MRI screening starting between ages 25 - 30 years is recommended for women carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations.
Women with a lifetime risk for breast cancer of at least 20% based on family history are recommended to start yearly mammogram and MRI screenings 10 years before the age of the youngest affected relative or between ages 25 - 30 years, whichever is later.
Women with a personal history of breast cancer are recommended to get an annual mammogram from the time of breast cancer diagnosis and consider the possibility of also getting a yearly MRI or ultrasound.
In addition to an annual mammogram, women with dense breast tissue as their only risk factor are recommended to consider the addition of ultrasound to their mammogram screening.
These recommendations are substantially different from those submitted last November by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and outlined in my earlier blog. It is important to work with your personal physician to determine the best breast cancer screening approach for you based on your personal risk of breast cancer.
In addition to appropriate breast cancer screening, it is also important to reduce your risk of breast cancer whenever possible. There are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce your personal breast cancer risk. To learn more read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer (www.fightBCnow.com).