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Breast Cancer Screening


Have you heard about the new guidelines for breast examinations to check for breast cancer?

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care says that clinical breast exams performed routinely are no longer recommended for women who are only at an average risk for breast cancer, and younger women may actually be harming themselves by over diagnosis. The guidelines, published on Monday, also stated that women in their 40s would receive no significant benefit from regularly scheduled mammograms, self-exams, and MRIs. “Average risk” for breast cancer refers to women under 74 years old who have no personal or family history of breast cancer, no known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, and an absence of radiation exposure to the chest wall.

The frequency of mammograms scheduled for women aged 50 to 74 has also been changed. Originally, every 2 years was recommended however now it has been changed to every 2 to 3 years.

Proponents of the new guidelines, which include The College of Family Physicians of Canada and Canadian Cancer Society, say that this will help prevent women from seeking further testing and treatment in the event of false positives. At the moment, some women do undergo biopsies unnecessarily. However, delaying exams may also prevent early detection of breast cancer cases, particularly if exams are no longer recommended for women in their 40s (as they are now).

news source: CBC News

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