Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
Mammographic screening reduces breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Various organizations have issued differing recommendations regarding who should be screened and what schedule should be used. In order to enhance uniformity, the Essentia Health Breast Program has developed screening guidelines. These guidelines were developed by a multidisciplinary group considering available clinical data regarding the risks and benefits of screening.
Criteria for average-risk screening
We recommend annual mammography for women beginning at age 40 through ages 75.
The potential risks and benefits from screening after age 75 have not been thoroughly investigated. However, this population is at risk for developing breast cancer and may benefit from continued screening. The Breast Program recommends that patients over the age of 75 discuss the potential risks and benefits of continued screening with their primary care provider.
Criteria for high-risk screening
Some individuals have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. For example, people with first degree relatives with breast cancer or those with a personal history of chest radiotherapy may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The ideal screening method and schedule for these women remain unknown and is best determined individually with their health care provider.