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Annual Screening Mammography Continues to be Recommended in Updated NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

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NCCN Risk-Based Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines (Webcast) This activity is not approved for CME/CE credits.

November 16, 2009

FORT WASHINGTON, PA — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently updated the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis and continues to recommend annual clinical breast examinations and mammography for women 40 years and older at normal risk.

“For women age 40 and over, the benefits of annual breast screening continue to outweigh the risks,” says Therese B. Bevers, MD, of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis.

Annual clinical breast examinations and screening mammography, with breast awareness encouraged is stated in the NCCN Guidelines as a recommendation for women 40 years and older at normal risk. Although the interval of screening in women aged 40 to 49 remains controversial, the NCCN Guidelines clearly recommend annual screenings since mammograms can often detect a lesion two years before the lesion is discovered by a clinical breast examination.

“Age should not be an absolute when determining who should receive mammography screening,” says Dr. Bevers. “It is imperative to consider the patient’s individual risk factors when considering an appropriate screening routine.”

Dr. Bevers notes that adhering to a risk-based assessment method reinforces the concept that physicians should discuss the benefits and risks of screening with their patients.

The intent of the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis is to provide health care providers with a practical, consistent framework for screening and evaluating a spectrum of breast lesions. However, the NCCN Guidelines Panel emphasizes that clinical judgment should always be an important component of the optimal management of a patient.

NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ are developed and updated through an evidence-based process with explicit review of the scientific evidence integrated with expert judgment by multidisciplinary panels of physicians from NCCN Member Institutions. The most recent version of this and all the NCCN Guidelines are available free of charge at

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope National Medical Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital