Breast Cancer: Screening
Release Date: January 2016
|Women aged 50 to 74 years|
The USPSTF recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years.
|Women aged 40 to 49 years|
The decision to start screening mammography in women prior to age 50 years should be an individual one. Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin biennial screening between the ages of 40 and 49 years.
• For women who are at average risk for breast cancer, most of the benefit of mammography results from biennial screening during ages 50 to 74 years. Of all of the age groups, women aged 60 to 69 years are most likely to avoid breast cancer death through mammography screening. While screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years may reduce the risk for breast cancer death, the number of deaths averted is smaller than that in older women and the number of false-positive results and unnecessary biopsies is larger. The balance of benefits and harms is likely to improve as women move from their early to late 40s.
• In addition to false-positive results and unnecessary biopsies, all women undergoing regular screening mammography are at risk for the diagnosis and treatment of noninvasive and invasive breast cancer that would otherwise not have become a threat to their health, or even apparent, during their lifetime (known as “overdiagnosis”). Beginning mammography screening at a younger age and screening more frequently may increase the risk for overdiagnosis and subsequent overtreatment.
• Women with a parent, sibling, or child with breast cancer are at higher risk for breast cancer and thus may benefit more than average-risk women from beginning screening in their 40s.
Go to the Clinical Considerations section for information on implementation of the C recommendation.
|Women aged 75 years or older|
The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening mammography in women aged 75 years or older.
The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) as a primary screening method for breast cancer.
|Women with dense breasts|
The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of adjunctive screening for breast cancer using breast ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative screening mammogram.
These recommendations apply to asymptomatic women aged 40 years or older who do not have preexisting breast cancer or a previously diagnosed high-risk breast lesion and who are not at high risk for breast cancer because of a known underlying genetic mutation (such as a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or other familial breast cancer syndrome) or a history of chest radiation at a young age.
Related Information for Health Professionals
- Final Research Plan
- Final Evidence Review
- Final Evidence Review: Supplemental Screening in Women With Dense Breasts
- Final Evidence Review: Screening with Digital Breast Tomosynthesis
- Modeling Report: Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Death From Mammography Screening (Abstract)
- Modeling Report: Collaborative Modeling of U.S. Breast Cancer Screening Strategies
- Editorial: Convergence and Divergence Around Breast Cancer Screening
- Evidence Summary: Screening for Breast Cancer
- Evidence Summary: Harms of Screening for Breast Cancer
- Evidence Summary: Supplemental Screening in Women With Dense Breasts
- Evidence Summary: False-Positive and False-Negative Rates of Digital Mammography Screening
- Evidence Summary: Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Death
- Evidence Summary: Collaborative Modeling of U.S. Breast Cancer Screening Strategies
Internet Citation: Final Update Summary: Breast Cancer: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. September 2016.