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The update to a report first published 25 years ago in the British Medical Journal continues to raise important questions about the value of mammography; however, it must be considered in the context of other randomized trials that confirm a significant reduction of breast cancer mortality in women who regularly undergo screening mammograms. This report shows, as it did previously, an improvement in survival rates for women who had their breast cancer detected via mammogram before clinical signs of cancer had become apparent.
As screening technology continues to evolve, screening guidelines may be modified. At present, there is convincing data that women should have annual screening mammograms beginning at 40, as suggested by the American Cancer Society’s guidelines. Those with a strong family history or a genetic predisposition may begin screening earlier after consultation with their physician.
For more information on mammography services and locations at NorthShore, please visit northshore.org/mammogram.