Since 1987, the United States has stood alone among major developed countries in having encouraged asymptomatic women under 50 years of age to undergo screening mammography, although US mortality rates for women these ages continue to mirror those of other Western countries.1 Recent reports in JAMA and elsewhere compel a reexamination of this policy.
Diagnostic mammographic evaluation is indicated at any age if a woman has a lump or other signs of disease. In contrast to diagnostic assessments, screening mammography is a routine measure seeking to detect latent disease in asymptomatic women, in order to provide treatment, which may increase the likelihood of a cure.2
Davis DL, Love SM. Mammographic Screening. JAMA. 1994;271(2):152-153. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510260084035