The American Cancer Society (ACS) commends today’s updated recommendations for breast cancer screening from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for lowering the age to begin mammography screening to age 40, which is more consistent with ACS guidelines. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Mammography continues to be the best screening tool to detect breast cancer and save lives.

Statement from Dr. Karen Knudsen, Chief Executive Officer at the American Cancer Society.

“The USPSTF decision today is a critical change concerning women’s health and the fight against breast cancer, acknowledging that women in their 40s will benefit from mammography screening, and sending a strong message to referring physicians and women that breast cancer screening should begin earlier than age 50. ACS guidelines already call for women at average risk to have the opportunity to begin annual breast cancer screening at age 40, with regular screening beginning for all women at age 45. Mammography screening is the cornerstone of our strategy to find this potentially deadly disease early, when it’s easier to treat successfully. However, we are disappointed that the updated USPSTF screening recommendations do not include women over the age of 74. Millions of women over age 75 are in very good health and are expected to live many more years during which their risk of breast cancer remains high. The ACS does not support stopping screening for anyone with a 10+ year life expectancy irrespective of age.”

“We are encouraged that among the reasons for the USPSTF changes in their breast cancer screening recommendations include eliminating health disparities, especially among Black women, who are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer compared with White women and have a higher risk of aggressive breast cancers at all ages. This is an important step, but much more needs to be done to protect this vulnerable population of women. We also join with the USPSTF in their urgent call for further research in this area to help make informative decisions to protect women from breast cancer.”

More information on ACS breast cancer screening guidelines can be found here.

This press release was originally published April 30, 2024, by the American Cancer Society. It is republished with permission.