Vermont cancer researchers applaud new mammogram recommendations

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont cancer researchers are applauding a proposed change in guidance that would urge people to start getting screened for breast cancer earlier.

A federal health task force now recommends all women with an average risk of breast cancer start screening every other year beginning at age 40.

The update on Tuesday is the first since 2009 and 2016 when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended women get mammograms every other year starting at 50.

UVM Cancer Center research showed that this may have led to a drop in screening across all age groups, including those who were supposed to continue getting mammograms.

They say the new guidance might help reverse that.

“I’m hoping this will help,” said Brian Sprague of the UVM Cancer Center. “I’m sure folks are frustrated at the changes and guidelines, going back and forth, and there’ll be some eye-rolling about that. But in general, now, I think these new recommendations reaffirm the value of mammography screening for all women over the age of 40 and it’ll be a more clear message and a simpler message to say start screening at age 40 and continuous screening regularly.”

The draft recommendation, which is not final, is for all people assigned female at birth, including transgender men and nonbinary people.

The American Cancer Society has been pushing for changes to the screening recommendations. In a statement, the organization applauded the proposal but said, “ ... further consideration may be required as to the frequency of screening for women under age 55.”

Watch the video to see our Cat Viglienzoni’s full conversation with Brian Sprague.

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