LAFOLLETTE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – Now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women start getting regular mammograms at age 40. The recommendation is in response to the increase in breast cancer diagnoses in younger women and high mortality rates in black women. More than 20 million women in the U.S. are between the ages of 40 and 49 and are now covered under the recommendation. Tennova Healthcare – LaFollette Medical Center is encouraging women to schedule their screening now, because when breast cancer is detected early, life-saving treatment can begin right away.

Here in Tennessee, 5,376 new female breast cancer cases were reported in 2019, the most recent year data is available.

“Following the new recommendation could greatly reduce mortality from breast cancer,” says Dr. Srinivas Boppana, “In the U.S. that could mean saving about 8,000 lives a year and that’s an amazing decrease,” he says.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Nearly all breast cancers can be treated successfully if found early. The most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage is to have yearly mammograms. Since mammography became widely used in the 1980s, the U.S. breast cancer death rate in women has dropped 43 percent.

“The best chance for survival of any cancer is early diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Nilesh Patel. “Mammograms can detect cancer before any symptoms, such as a lump, or spreading of the disease occurs, which can increase the likelihood of recovery.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force noted that the diagnosis of breast cancer among women in their 40s had been increasing at less than 1 percent between 2000 and 2015. But on average, the rate rose by 2 percent a year between 2015 and 2019. As a result, The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) now recommend annual mammograms start at age 40, instead of 50.

However, different guidelines apply to women at higher risk:

   –  African Americans and those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent should have a    risk assessment at age 30 to see if a screening earlier than age 40 is needed. Women who were previously diagnosed with breast cancer are    recommended to be screened with magnetic resonance imaging, an MRI.

To schedule a mammogram, call 865-545-7771 or toll free at 1-866-656-7771. Or, to find a primary care doctor or OB/GYN, visit HERE.

At Tennova Cancer Centers, we offer a full spectrum of services for cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Our approach to cancer care includes the latest imaging and treatment options, combined with valuable education, counseling, nurse navigation and support. We strive to make the healthcare experiences of our patients and their families as positive as possible—from discovery to recovery. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/23/2023-11:30AM)