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January 12, 1994

NCI Changes Its Stance on Mammography

JAMA. 1994;271(2):96. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510260018005

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THE NATIONAL Cancer Institute (NCI) has changed its policy regarding routine mammographic screening for breast cancer in asymptomatic women under the age of 50 years. The institute has issued a statement alerting women in this age group to the fact that until now, randomized clinical trials of routine screening mammography "have not shown a statistically signficant reduction in mortality in women under the age of 50."

The NCI shies away from referring to the statement it issued on December 3, 1993, as a "guideline," but the new position effectively reverses its own "working guidelines," which date back to 1987. These recommended routine screening of women under 40 years of age as well as those over 50.

Among women over 50 years of age, screening is still worth doing, according to these authorities. In this older group, "there is a general consensus among experts that routine screening every 1 to 2

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