New Breast Cancer Guidelines Say Mammograms Should Start at Age 40

A split screen of NBC News anchor and Dr. Roshni Rao during online live broadcast.
Chief of Breast Surgery Dr. Roshni Rao joins NBC News live broadcast.

The US Preventative Services Task Force updated breast cancer screening guidelines to include younger women. They now recommend that regular screenings start at age 40, and continue through age 74.

Chief of Breast Surgery, Roshni Rao, MD, joined NBC News to discuss the changes and break down exactly what you need to know. Here are three key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Start Screening at 40: All women should begin breast cancer screenings at age 40, rather than waiting until they turn 50. This change aligns with the recommendations of numerous medical societies and reflects advancements in screening technologies like 3D mammography.
  2. Know the Warning Signs: While regular screenings are crucial, it's also important to be aware of potential warning signs. If you notice any unusual masses, skin changes, or nipple discharge, seek medical evaluation right away. Individuals with a family history of breast cancer, especially two first-degree relatives, should consider enhanced surveillance.
  3. Lowering Your Risk: While some risk factors for breast cancer may be beyond our control, there are lifestyle choices that can help mitigate risk. Limiting alcohol intake to three drinks per week or less, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all strategies that can contribute to reducing your risk.

“For those of us who take care of breast cancer patients, this is really great news and certainly a step in the right direction,” says Dr. Rao. “We should be finding cancer before women have symptoms.” 

If you have any questions about breast cancer screening, don't hesitate to reach out to our Breast Care team. To make an appointment, call (212) 305-9676 or fill out our appointment request form.


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