Breast Cancer Screening for Average-Risk Women

Clinical Recommendations

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends that average-risk women initiate mammography screening no earlier than age 40 and no later than age 50. Screening mammography should occur at least biennially and as frequently as annually. Screening should continue through at least age 74 and age alone should not be the basis to discontinue screening.

These screening recommendations are for women at average risk of breast cancer. Women at increased risk should also undergo periodic mammography screening, however, recommendations for additional services are beyond the scope of this recommendation.

Implementation Considerations

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative recommends, as a preventive service, that women initiate mammography screening no earlier than age 40 and no later than age 50 and continue through at least age 74. Screening mammography should occur at least biennially and as frequently as annually.

Decisions regarding when to initiate screening, how often to screen, and when to stop screening should be based on a periodic shared decision-making process involving the woman and her health care provider. The shared decision-making process assists women in making an informed decision and includes, but is not limited to, a discussion about the benefits and harms of screening, an assessment of the woman’s values and preferences, and consideration of factors such as life expectancy, comorbidities, and health status.

*These are the recommendations of the WPSI and not necessarily of any individual participating organization.