Mammograms Should Start at Age 40, New Guidelines Say

Women should begin screening for breast cancer a decade earlier than previously recommended

<p>izusek/Getty</p> Stock image of a woman getting a mammogram.


Stock image of a woman getting a mammogram.

Women should start getting regular mammograms at age 40 — a decade earlier than previously recommended — to detect breast cancer.

“Among all US women, breast cancer is the second most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death. In 2023, an estimated 43,170 women died of breast cancer,” the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in its announcement Tuesday of the new guidelines.

Although incidence of breast cancer has been steadily rising in women in their forties since 2000, the agency said it “increased more noticeably from 2015 to 2019, with a 2.0% average annual increase.”

Previous guidelines, issued in 2016, advised that women aged 40-49 may consider getting a mammogram based on their family history or other risk; otherwise, screening was recommended to begin at age 50.

<p>Valerii Apetroaiei/Getty</p> Stock image of a mammogram machine.

Valerii Apetroaiei/Getty

Stock image of a mammogram machine.

Related: Olivia Munn Recalls ‘Shock’ of Seeing Her Body After Having a Double Mastectomy: ‘Looking in the Mirror…Having No Emotion’ (Exclusive)

The USPSTF noted that while white women have the highest rates of breast cancer, Black women are “approximately 40% more likely to die of breast cancer.”

"If all women followed our new recommendation, we could reduce mortality from breast cancer in the U.S. by about 20%," Dr. Carol Mangione, an internal medicine specialist at UCLA who co-authored the new recommendation, told NPR. "That's a big reduction in mortality from breast cancer."

While women are advised to regularly check their breasts for lumps which can indicate the presence of cancer, the Center for Disease Control says that “regular mammograms can find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.”

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of a mammogram scan.


Stock image of a mammogram scan.

Related: Christina Applegate Recalls ‘Crying Every Night’ During Breast Cancer Journey

Breast cancer that is caught early — meaning, before it has spread — has up to a 99% five-year survival rate, the American Cancer Society says.

Although most insurance plans cover routine mammograms, the CDCs National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides screenings and other services to women who are uninsured or fall below the federal poverty limit. (Click here to find a screening provider in your area.}

According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, this year, 310,720 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed — and more than 42,000 women will die from breast cancer.

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