Several recent studies have indicated that starting yearly mammograms at 40 would be the most effective at preventing deaths, reports Andrew M. Seaman of the Huffington Post. While this could raise the possibility of false positives, more women’s lives would be getting saved. American researchers found that breast cancer fatality rates could be cut by 40% if women between 40 and 80 got annual mammograms. This differs from the 23%-31% reduction in deaths that the currently recommended yet less frequent examinations lead to. Women in their 40s would statistically be better off getting yearly mammograms.
Telling women to start getting yearly mammograms at 40 overstates the risks of cancer and ignores the potentially costly downsides due to misdiagnosis, writes Kaitlin Kimont of Romper. False-positives can result in healthy people needlessly undergoing highly expensive treatments. When deciding to undergoing the procedure yearly, people should primarily consider what their physician recommends. It would be excessive for every woman, even those at a low risk of getting breast cancer, to get the treatment yearly without prior consultation. Mammograms should be part of 40-something women’s lives, but not necessarily yearly.