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Follow the breast cancer screening guidelines

Screening recommended for women 40 and older

There are various breast cancer screening recommendations. It can be difficult to know what recommendations to follow, especially when taking into account age, health, lifestyle and other factors. For this reason, Augusta Health has adopted the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) guidelines for breast cancer screening, which has a simple message: all women age 40 and over should receive a mammogram annually.

“There are all of these recommendations out there, all of this noise,” making it difficult for women to remember when they should schedule their mammograms, says Todd Goodnight, MD, mammogram radiologist at Augusta Health. This confusion often results in women missing their screenings altogether, which then becomes missed opportunities to catch breast cancer early.

“When I first [started working at Augusta Health], I noticed there were a lot of women not getting their screening mammograms as often and as regularly as they could, and I noticed a lot of cancers,” says Dr. Goodnight. “It got me thinking that, if we make uniform our message for the community to ‘annual screenings at age 40 and above,’ then we can get everyone on the same page and start attacking this problem.”

Since the NCCN is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education, patients at Augusta Health can be assured that the cancer screening guidelines are objective and evidence-based. Augusta Health also offers tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, which is an advanced form of mammography and helps catch cancer earlier. (See “3D Mammography.”)

While it’s important to make healthy decisions to help reduce your risk for cancer — including exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and not smoking — cancer does not discriminate, says Dr. Goodnight, which is why it’s also important to get screened. Talk to your primary care physician about your breast cancer risks or concerns and, if you’re a woman over 40, make an appointment to get screened for breast cancer today.

To schedule a breast cancer screening, call (540) 332-4486. Learn more about women’s imaging at augustahealth.com/womens-imaging.