New Mammography Guidelines from American Cancer Society

Denise L. Johnson Miller, M.D., FACS

Denise Johnson-Miller, M.D., FACS, medical director of breast surgery for Meridian Health, shares several important points to keep in mind when considering the new mammography guidelines from the American Cancer Society.

1. Mammography is a lifesaving early detection tool in the fight against breast cancer. It is the only universally accepted screening tool to detect abnormalities. It is an effective way to catch cancer, particularly at an early stage, and reduce the chance of dying from the disease. Other technologies can complement diagnosis 

2. Guidelines are provided as a recommendation, but each woman should make their own personal decision of when to have a mammogram based upon her preferences and physician input. Each woman has unique lifestyle, family history and medical factors that can influence when to have baseline and screening mammograms. Understanding the options and pros and cons of when to have a mammogram should be fully discussed with an ob/gyn or primary care doctor. 

3. Be aware of changes in your body. Conducting a monthly self-breast exam is a good way to be familiar with your body. If you notice any changes in your breast, feel an abnormality, or experience nipple discharge, always see your physician. Discomfort or pain in the breast should also be investigated. Any of these physical changes warrant a visit to your physician and would warrant diagnostic imaging.