Breast Cancer Screening for Average-Risk Women: Recommendations From the ACR Commission on Breast Imaging

J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Sep;14(9):1137-1143. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.06.001. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Before the introduction of widespread mammographic screening in the mid-1980s, the death rate from breast cancer in the US had remained unchanged for more than 4 decades. Since 1990, the death rate has declined by at least 38%. Much of this change is attributed to early detection with mammography. ACR breast cancer screening experts have reviewed data from RCTs, observational studies, US screening data, and other peer-reviewed literature to update our recommendations. Mammography screening has consistently been shown to significantly reduce breast cancer mortality over a variety of study designs. The ACR recommends annual mammography screening starting at age 40 for women of average risk of developing breast cancer. Our recommendation is based on maximizing proven benefits, which include a substantial reduction in breast cancer mortality afforded by regular screening and improved treatment options for those diagnosed with breast cancer. The risks associated with mammography screening are also considered to assist women in making an informed choice.

Keywords: Breast cancer screening; breast cancer; early detection; mammography; mammography screening.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Early Detection of Cancer / adverse effects
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / mortality
  • Mortality / trends
  • Risk
  • United States