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The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends new breast cancer screening age

Publication: KAMR-TV (NBC, Amarillo)

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT)-The United States Preventive Services task force announced a new recommended screening age for breast cancer on May 9.

USPSTF officials now recommend that women begin breast cancer screening at 40 years old and continue getting screened every other year.

In the recommendation, USPSTF shares the reason for the change in recommendation is because there is “new and more inclusive science about breast cancer in people younger than 50 years old has enabled us to expand our prior recommendation and encourage all women to get screened every other year starting at age 40.”

Texas Oncology Amarillo Cancer Center, Lova Arenivas, M.D., discussed the prevalence of breast cancer in the U.S., Texas, and Amarillo area.

“In the United States, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Arenivas. “In the Texas panhandle that accounts for approximately 600 new breast cancer diagnosis a year and about 110 or so women dying from breast cancer a year, as what’s estimated for the last year.”

According to Texas Oncology, risk factors that increase the risk of breast cancer include age, family or personal history, race and ethnicity, being overweight, and breast conditions such as dense breasts.

“The signs to look for are new lumps, skin changes, nipple changes, nipple discharge lumps in the armpits, really anything of concern to a woman she should report to her doctor or provider,” said Arenivas. “They can assess that and order the appropriate test or appropriate clinical exams.”

In the recommendation, USPSTF shared that beginning screening at 40 is especially important for black women. USPSTF adds that black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.

Breast cancer screening can begin sooner for individuals with a family history of breast cancer.

“If a woman has a strong family history of breast cancer, particularly in first-degree relatives, such as a sister or mother or daughter, or women who have male relatives who’ve had breast cancer, they tend to have more genetic predispositions,” explained Arenivas.

Arenivas shared that if a first-degree family is diagnosed at age 40 then they would recommend beginning screening at age 30, ten years before that person was diagnosed.

Arenivas adds that it’s important to notify providers if you are high-risk so the provider can develop personalized strategic recommendations.

Although cancer can’t be prevented there are ways to lower individual risk.

“In terms of breast cancer one of the big factors is maintaining healthy body weight, decreasing alcohol intake, and exercising regularly,” said Arenivas. “Those are some of the top three things one a woman can do to decrease her risk of breast cancer.”

Arenivas encourages all women to continue screening on an annual basis and began talking to their provider at age 25 to discuss their personal history and their risk to develop strategies for breast cancer screening.

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