When should you consider getting screened for breast cancer? The answer depends on who you ask. New breast cancer screening guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force, a government-convened committee of independent medical experts, say the research is clear: Women between the ages of 50 and 74 should have a mammogram at least every other year. For everyone else, it depends.
Women in their 40s ‘could’ start considering biennial mammograms, according to the task force, but doing it this young increases the risk of potential downsides that come from screening, including false positives. For women over the age of 75, the data is inconclusive. And for women with higher than average risk, like those with a past history of breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer, the new recommendations don’t really apply at all — they should factor their risk into their decision to screen and perhaps come up with an alternative and more aggressive schedule for themselves with the doctor’s help.