What are the ACS guidelines for breast cancer screening?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

At present, the most widely accepted recommendations in the United States come from the American Cancer Society (ACS). In October 2015, the ACS updated its guidelines, which had previously recommended annual screening mammography, beginning at age 40 years for all women and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health, along with clinical breast examinations about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over, with monthly breast self-examination as an option for women starting in their 20s. [100]

The 2015 ACS recommendations for women at average risk of breast cancer are as follows [101] :

  • Women should begin regular screening mammography at age 45 years (strong recommendation)
  • Women aged 45-54 years should be screened annually (qualified recommendation)
  • Women 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually (qualified recommendation)
  • Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening at 40-44 years of age (qualified recommendation)
  • Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer (qualified recommendation)
  • Clinical breast examination is not recommended for breast cancer screening in average-risk women at any age

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