Change Is a Part of Life…and Medicine


Dr. Monticciolo

The following post was contributed by Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Breast Imaging Commission and Wendy B. DeMartini, MD, FSBI, president of the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI).

The latest scientific evidence (and that before) overwhelmingly supports a continued general recommendation that women start annual breast cancer screening at age 40. However, this information increasingly supports augmented and earlier screening for many women.

DeMartini Wendy

Dr. DeMartini

This is why the ACR and SBI have dramatically changed the approach of our new screening guidelines.

Particularly – new for 2018 are:

  • African-American women are now officially recognized as being at high risk for breast cancer.
  • All women should have a risk assessment (using an established risk assessment tools) by age 30.
  • Women previously diagnosed with breast cancer should be screened with MRI.

2015 National Cancer Institute SEER data show that the U.S. breast cancer death rate in women, unchanged for the previous 50 years, has dropped 43 percent since mammography became widespread in the 1980s. Breast cancer deaths in men, who have the same treatment as women but are not screened, have not declined.

However, we have seen only a 23 percent drop in African-American breast cancer deaths. We need a different approach in caring for these women and others at higher risk for the disease.

Recognizing that – we opted to change our guidelines now. The ACR and SBI are the first medical societies to make these recommendations, but as the experts in breast imaging, we have a responsibility to lead.

Change is a part of life – and medicine. Together, we can save more women from this deadly disease.

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