New draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advise all women to undergo mammogram screenings every other year starting at age 40. This is a shift from the previous recommendation of starting at age 50, with women in their 40s encouraged to discuss screening based on individual risk factors.
The updated guidance is based on a review of new evidence by an independent panel of experts. Breast cancer rates have been increasing in women in their 40s, prompting the change in recommendations. The task force believes the new recommendation could reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by about 20%. Since black women are disproportionately affected and more likely to die from breast cancer, they benefit the most from the new recommendation.
The Affordable Care Act requires most private health insurers to cover mammograms with no cost-sharing, making them free for patients.
Read more (via NPR)