The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammography for women starting at age 40. This affords the maximum benefits of reduced breast cancer deaths, less extensive treatments for cancers that are found, decreased chance of advanced disease at diagnosis, and discovery and treatment of high risk lesions. Breast cancer incidence increases substantially around age 40 and even earlier for high risk women and women of color.
All health insurers, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), should cover women ages 40 and older for annual mammograms as a preventive service, without additional cost sharing or co-payments. Extensive scientific research shows a 40 percent reduction of breast cancer deaths with regular mammographic screening. The greatest mortality reduction, the most lives saved and the most life years gained occur with yearly mammography starting at age 40. There is no established age for women to stop screening. Women should continue breast cancer mammography screening as long as they are healthy and desire to remain so. Therefore, health care coverage for screening should not have an upper age limit.
- American College of Radiology. Benefits and limitations of mammography. Digest of Council Action 2015-2016: 2002, amended 2012 (Res. 23-c).
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