ACS Breast Screening Guidelines
- Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40. The age at which screening should be stopped should be individualized by considering the potential risks and benefits of screening in the context of overall health status and longevity.
- Clinical breast exam should be part of a periodic health exam about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older.
- Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exam* is an option for women starting in their 20s.
- Women at increased risk (e.g., family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk to their doctors about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests (i.e., breast ultrasound and MRI), or having more frequent exams.
- Screening MRI is recommended for women with an approximately 20%-25% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer, including women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and women who are treated for Hodgkin disease.
Note: In 2003 the American Cancer Society dropped its recommendation that all women perform breast self-exams (BSE) monthly. The reason for this change is that research has shown that a structured BSE is less important than self awareness. The Society still recommends that women be told of the potential benefits and limitations of BSE, and those women who wish to do it should receive instruction from their health care providers.