Some Women May Now Need Mammograms as Young as 30

"We're looking to see if younger women with certain risk factors may benefit from earlier onset screening mammography”, says Dr. Cindy Lee.

According to a recent study, women at an increased risk for breast cancer should start getting mammograms earlier than recommended. While the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says women 50-74 should start getting mammograms every other year, new research says an earlier start is beneficial. “Every woman by age 30 should have a risk assessment with their primary care physician or gynecologist to see if they are at increased breast cancer risk,” says Dr. Cindy Lee, an assistant professor of radiology at NYU Langone.

Lee and her team examined the data from over 5.7 million mammograms performed on over 2.6 million women between 2008 and 2015. They studied women between ages 30 to 39 with three risk factors: dense breasts, prior breast cancer diagnosis, and a breast cancer diagnosis in a first-degree relative. Lee compared their stats to the data of women in their 40s who did not have these risk factors. They found that the rate of breast cancer diagnosis was the same for each group.

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women, making earlier detection that much more important. “Women with at least one of these three risk factors likely benefit from a screening mammogram beginning at age 30, instead of age 40,” Lee said.

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