In a special communication published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, the American Cancer Society updated its official recommendations for mammograms.
Here are five things to know about the new guidelines:
1. Women with average risk of cancer are now recommended by the American Cancer Society to start getting mammograms at age 45. The previous recommendation was age 40.
This change is based on the risk of false positives and unnecessary treatment.
2. The American Cancer Society also recommends that women ages 55 and over can opt out of annual mammograms and are free to adopt a biennial schedule instead.
3. According to the new guidelines, it is no longer recommended for manual breast exams to be performed.
4. The recomendations also state that women should continue getting mammograms if their overall health is good and if they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.
5. The new age recommendation for mammograms by the American Cancer Society varies from other organizations' recommendations — and is leaving some women upset and confused.
In fact, some young breast cancer survivors claim they would not have lived if they waited to get their mammograms.