Before 2009, the recommendations on breast cancer screenings were that women should start being screened via mammogram in their 40s (or earlier if family history warranted it). In 2009, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force changed its breast cancer screening recommendations to start at age 50 for women of average risk, and suggested that women in their 40s should consult with their physicians. So what has happened since then?

A new study has revealed that women in their 40s do not want to give up breast cancer screening, and are still being screened at similar rates to those prior to the 2009 recommendation change.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, compared mammogram use before 2009 and after the 2009 guideline change. Researchers hypothesized that women in their 40s would report a significantly reduced use of mammography after 2009, but this was not the case. In 2008, 53.2% of women aged 40-49 had a mammogram, compared with 51.7% in 2010. By comparison, 65.2% of women aged 50-74 were screened in 2008 compared with 62.4% in 2010. Neither difference is statistically significant.

So what does this mean? Despite changes to the screening guidelines in 2009, women in their 40s are still getting tested at around the same rates as before. It is worth noting that both The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society recommend that breast screening via mammogram begin at age 40. Furthermore, most insurance companies continue to pay for routine mammograms for women in their 40s.

At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we offer digital mammography, as well as the latest advancement in breast imaging, 3D tomosynthesis, at nine of our locations.