This new way of looking at a woman’s risk for breast cancer was initiated by the fact that the risk of breast cancer is not evenly distributed when it comes to women in this age group. Therefore, not all women need to have a mammography at this age. In fact, there are some potential issues with having a mammography at this age, as false-positive results are possible. In addition, there is the risk involved with unnecessary radiation exposure.
“It is important to tailor the decision of screening mammography by discussing the benefits and risks with a woman, addressing her concerns, and making it a joint decision between her and her physician.” – Amir Qaseem, MD, PHD, DHA and lead author of the study
According to the new guidelines, clinicians should periodically perform an assessment for each of their patients in order to determine their risks for breast cancer. The clinicians should then inform women in this age group about the benefits as well as the risks involved with a screening. The final decision as to whether a screening is necessary needs to be based on whether or not the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
If the clinician and the patient decide a screening is not necessary at the time, the issue should be addressed again every one to two years. These new guidelines represent The American College of Physicians’ stance that women should be encouraged to make more informed decisions about their bodies.