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Canadian Task Force Issues Breast CA Screening Guidelines

Routine mammography not recommended for 40- to 49-year-olds; but is for 50- to 74-year olds

MONDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- For women at average risk of breast cancer, routine mammography screening is not recommended for 40- to 49-year-olds, and is recommended every two to three years for 50- to 74-year-olds, according to the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care's screening guidelines published in the Nov. 22 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Marcello Tonelli, M.D., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues updated the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care's guidelines for breast cancer screening among average-risk women aged 40 to 74 years. They also presented recommendations, which were graded according to the quality of evidence available.

The authors report that there is a relatively small mortality reduction associated with screening mammography among women aged 40 to 74 years. The reduction is greater for women aged 50 to 74 years than for those aged 40 to 49 years. Overdiagnosis and unnecessary biopsy-associated harms are greater for younger than for older women. Providers should discuss the benefits and harms, in addition to patient values and preferences, before deciding whether to recommend mammography for a specific patient. Routine mammography screening is not recommended for women aged 40 to 49 years, but is recommended every two to three years for women aged 50 to 74 years. Magnetic resonance imaging is not recommended for routine screening for average-risk women. Women should not routinely practice breast self-examination, and clinical breast examination should not be performed routinely, either alone or in conjunction with mammography.

"The recommendations are intended to inform both organized and opportunistic screening," the authors write.

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