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Suggested Age for Mammograms Reversed

Women can now delay their dreaded mammography appointment even later since new guidelines released Monday advise regular screenings at age 50, not 40 as previously believed. The controversial recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, an influential group that guides doctors, insurance companies, and policymakers, aims to reduce the dangerous effect of over-screening. They are also suggesting women between 50 and 74 have mammograms every two years as opposed to every year and that doctors should no longer instruct women to examine their breasts regularly. These new guidelines are not, however, intended for those at an increased risk for breast cancer due to genetic predisposition. While the task force’s reports conflict with the advice of the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology, which stick by the original advice, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Breast Cancer Action, and the National Women’s Health Network all backed them.