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March 15, 2021

Recommendations From Breast Cancer Centers for Frequent Screening Mammography in Younger Women May Do More Harm Than Good

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 2Editorial Fellow, JAMA Internal Medicine
  • 3Department of Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 4Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 5Women’s Health Clinical Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 6Deputy Editor, JAMA Internal Medicine
  • 7Department of Cardiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 8Editor, JAMA Internal Medicine
JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(5):588-589. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.0161

Breast cancer continues to be the leading new cancer diagnosis and the second leading cause of death among women in the US.1 To reduce the incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with breast cancer, accessible and affordable screening, diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance strategies that balance harms and benefits are needed.

The most recent (2016) US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) breast cancer screening recommendations for women with average risk advise biennial screening in women aged 50 to 74 years.2 Among younger women (aged 40-49 years), the estimates of reduced breast cancer mortality are smaller and have more uncertainty, and the rates of potential harm are higher. Thus, the USPSTF does not recommend routine screening but suggests individualization based on shared decision-making.3,4

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