Intended for healthcare professionals


Women in their 40s should not be screened for breast cancer, new Canadian guideline says

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 23 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7625
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Experts in Canada have recommended that women aged 40 to 49 should not be routinely screened for breast cancer and that the frequency of mammographic screening should be changed from every other year to every two to three years.

The guidance from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, published in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association (doi:10.1503/cmaj.110334), also says that women should not be urged to check their breasts for cancer on a regular basis or have their GP carry out an examination, because there was no evidence that doing so reduced mortality rates.

In addition, the guideline, the first on breast cancer issued by the task force since 2001, says that women aged 70 to 74 should be undergoing mammography at the same frequency as women …

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