The American College of Radiology today strongly endorsed the American Cancer Society's recommendation that women aged 40-49 receive screening mammography every year rather than every 1-2 years.
Like the ACS, the ACR has now modified its screening guidelines for this age group to urge more frequent screening based on recent scientific evidence gathered in clinical trials held in Sweden.
Based on the study results, these studies provide clear evidence that shortening the screening interval will further improve breast cancer survival rates for women in their 40s, according to the College.
Both the ACR and the ACS continue to recommend annual screening mammography for women aged 50 and older as well.
The ACR changed its guidelines after a special subcommittee of its Breast Task Force carefully studied the issue of screening frequency and concluded that the change would be life saving. Dr. Stephen A. Feig of Philadelphia, committee chair, said that "although some breast cancers grow faster in women aged 40-49, annual screening can substantially increase the chance that these tumors can be detected earlier, at a more curable stage."
In a report issued by the task force, which is chaired by Dr. Lawrence Bassett of Los Angeles, the group said "The Swedish trials provide unquestionable proof that screening mammography performed every year can reduce breast cancer deaths among women in their 40s by at least 25 percent, perhaps as much as 45 percent. Yearly screening should result in an even greater benefit."
The ACR, along with the ACS , the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and numerous other national organizations, has continued to strongly support routine mammography screening for women 40-49.