American Cancer Society Recommends Women Receive Fewer Mammograms

<a href=""> Guschenkova</a>/Shutterstock

In a major shift following years of mounting evidence that women may be receiving too many mammograms, the American Cancer Society on Tuesday released new guidelines recommending that women start getting the tests later, at age 45, and only every other year.

The previous guidelines, which have been in place for decades, recommended that women begin the screenings at 40 and return annually. The organization also said women should opt out of routine breast examinations, where doctors check for abnormal lumps.

The significant changes are based on studies showing that overtesting can lead to false positives, sometimes leading women to undergo unnecessary tests, such as biopsies.

“You see this moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to something that’s more personalized and more individualized, which is where medicine is going,” said Dr. Kevin Oeffinger of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cancer, one of the physicians charged with creating the new guidelines.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.