Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines 2020

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines 2020

Breast Cancer screening guidelines

Breast cancer is a disease that increases in severity as time progresses. The earlier the breast cancer is treated; more are, the more chances for a successful recovery. Screening for breast cancer can be understood as a diagnostic procedure used to examine the breasts for abnormalities. The breasts are checked for cancer without any visible signs or symptoms of actual breast cancer. This before-time screening method has its benefits and risks that we will discuss later on.

Breast cancer screening guidelines are almost identical in different regions around the world. There are prestigious healthcare organizations like the U.S preventive services task force and American cancer society, whose screening guidelines help detect breast cancer early on. Let’s take a look at the guidelines from these respective organizations.

What breast screening guidelines to follow?

United States preventive services task force (USPSTF) as well as the American Cancer Society both have teams of researchers, doctors, and scientists who advise the best possible ways of disease prevention and management to doctors as well as patients.

According to their breast cancer screening guidelines, women ranging from the age of 50 years to 74 years have a greater chance of developing breast cancer. So, they should opt for mammography, each year. The age group of women between 40 to 49 years is advised to discuss with their healthcare provider the potential benefits and risks of different screening examinations that would help them understand and go for the best-suited screening method.

The breast cancer screening guidelines by these respected organizations also emphasize that doctors and healthcare providers alike should educate every woman patient on the topic of breast cancer. Furthermore, such healthcare professionals should also advise the best screening methods that would benefit the most.

Types of breast cancer screening tests-


A mammograph can be understood as a diagnostic method used to detect breast abnormalities. This method uses X-ray radiation to map out any unnecessary changes and helps detect breast cancer symptoms like lumps or clusters of swollen cells within the breast. Frequent mammography is recommended to women who have a family history of breast cancer or are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

This simple technique is used as the first line of investigation by doctors if abnormalities are detected in a physical examination. According to breast cancer screening guidelines, mammography helps detect breast cancer early. This directly benefits the patient as an early treatment for almost all cancers is possible.

In certain cases, things get out of hand when the symptoms of breast cancer are ignored by the affected, leading to the spread of cancer even further into other parts of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging:

MRI is usually recommended to women who are at a higher risk of developing cancer. This technique uses high-frequency waves that bounce off the body, making a detailed visual of the structures within. This diagnostic procedure is not suitable for everyone, especially for breast cancer patients who are not a high risk.

Other screening procedures:

Breast examination:

A clinical breast examination is conducted by your doctor, nurse, or a qualified healthcare professional who inspects and examines the breast to identify any abnormalities or lumps within the breast tissue.

Self-breast examination:

Before following any breast cancer screening guidelines, understanding the changes breast cancer does to the breast will help detect cancer much earlier. Please do consult your nearest healthcare provider if you experience any of the abnormalities listed below:

  • A lump in the breast that can be easily felt to touch.
  • Swelling, redness, and a feeling of pain in the breast.
  • Nipple changes like unnecessary fluid discharge or shape changes.
  • Sudden or unexpected breast skin changes.

Benefits vs. Risks

Benefits: Screening for breast cancer can easily aid you in keeping a tab on your health status. More importantly, these diagnostic tests conducted under the light of breast cancer screening guidelines can easily detect cancer in its early stages. This early detection allows healthcare providers to consider possible and relatively promising treatments for cancer.

Risks: As time progresses, the tumor cells could break-free and eventually reach other tissues. Usually, cancer in the early stages has not yet spread to other areas in the body. Surgery is recommended in the early stages to remove the cancerous growth.

Following the breast cancer screening guidelines, cancer is easily detected. However, there are instances when your doctor might not identify cancer on a simple screening test like a mammograph—under such circumstances, further testing. The breast screening methods can be a false alarm, known as a false positive test or a false negative test, meaning your doctor confused some similar medical condition to breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in women. Yet, it can be treated with in-time diagnosis and management. The more you delay proper treatment, the more it proliferates and creates conditions that could be life-threatening.

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