“In 2014, nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. Even though mammography has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate in the United States by more than 30 percent since 1990, and every major medical organization with expertise in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment recommends annual mammograms for women 40 and older, thousands will die in the next 12 months because they did not get a mammogram. This is a tragedy,” said Barbara S. Monsees, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.
The PSAs, featuring a physician and breast cancer survivor diagnosed in her 40s by mammography, urge women to begin getting regular mammograms at age 40 and refer them to MammographySavesLives.org where they can:
• Find an accredited mammography facility near them.
• Access scientific information on breast density and how it affects mammograms and breast cancer diagnosis.
• Hear leading breast cancer experts separate fact from myth and explain why they recommend regular mammograms for women 40-and-older.
All women can benefit from getting a regular mammogram starting at age 40. This decision should not be based solely on someone being at high-risk for breast cancer. Seventy-five percent of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history or other factors that place them at high-risk for the disease. Forty percent of life-years lost to breast cancer occur in women in their 40’s. Women are urged to seek out information on the benefits and limitations of mammograms, and together with their health care provider, create a schedule to get their regular mammogram.
“Despite some limitations, mammograms save lives. A great many more breast cancer deaths could be avoided if more women would choose to begin regular screening at age 40,” said Murray Rebner, MD, FACR, president of the Society of Breast Imaging. “By not getting a regular mammogram after age 40, women increase their odds of dying from breast cancer and receiving more extensive therapy. The risks of being called back for additional images, followed up with imaging in six months or undergoing a minimally invasive biopsy are extremely low compared to the risk of dying from breast cancer.”
The MSL campaign, a coalition of not-for-profit, medical associations dedicated to improving breast cancer care, is comprised of the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and the American Society of Breast Disease.