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Study Adds Support to Mammograms Starting at Age 40

Breast Cancer as Likely to be Found in Women Without Family History

The Mammograms Debate Rages On continued...

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute both continue to recommend annual screening beginning at age 40, however, leading to confusion among doctors and patients, Destounis says.

The new findings are unlikely to put an end to the debate, says Edith Perez, MD, a breast cancer specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

What they do suggest, she tells WebMD, is that family history is not useful for deciding which younger women would benefit from annual screening mammograms.

Screening recommendations are aimed at the general population, not the individual patient, says Claudine Isaacs, MD, director of the clinical breast cancer program at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

"This is an area of considerable controversy and, as always, it is best for women to check with their own doctors," she tells WebMD.

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