RSNA 2018: Mammography at 30 may benefit certain women

For women with certain breast cancer risk factors, annual mammograms beginning at age 30 may be beneficial, according to a large-scale study presented Wednesday, Nov. 28 at RSNA’s 2018 Annual Meeting.

Included in the study were 5.7 million screening mammograms performed on more than 2.6 million women between January 2008 and December 2015. Cindy S. Lee, MD, with NYU Langone Health in New York, and colleagues evaluated screening data among subgroups of women based on age, risk factors and breast density.

The team found cancer detection rates were “significantly” higher in women with one of the following three risk factors: family history of breast cancer (any first-degree relative regardless of age), personal history of breast cancer and dense breasts.

"Women with at least one of these three risk factors may benefit from screening mammography beginning at age 30, instead of 40," Lee said in an RSNA press release.

Lee et al. found women age 30-34 and 35-39 had similar cancer detection rates, recall rates and positive predictive values. Additionally, incidence screening of women in their 30’s with at least one risk factor evaluated showed similar detection and recall rates compared to women ages 40 to 44 at average risk.

Currently, the American Cancer Society recommends all women at average risk should be screened annually starting at age 45, however RSNA and other professional groups recommend annual screening beginning at age 40.

"Women under 40 have not been the focus of our attention when it comes to breast cancer screening," Lee said in the same release. "Everyone is talking about the 40 to 49 range, and not the 30 to 39 age range. It's difficult to study this group because most women in this age range do not get mammograms, but some of these young women have increased risk for breast cancer and may need earlier and/or supplemental screening."