Controversies in breast cancer screening

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Because breast cancer is the most common cancer occurring in women in the United States, early detection of breast cancer through screening mammography, physician clinical examination, and breast self‐examination has been recommended. However, despite admonitions to physicians and patients to be aggressive in their screening efforts, there has been continued controversy regarding appropriate guidelines for screening. In December 1993, the National Cancer Institute announced that it could no longer recommend routine mammographic screening for women age 40‐49 years, which it had previously supported along with other medical organizations. This change in policy, along with data from the Canadian National Breast Screening Study showing an increased mortality rate for screened women, created confusion for physicians and patients alike. The controversy about screening guidelines has created many practical concerns for the physicians involved in the primary health care of women. In the current paper, the author discussed the development of screening guidelines and the current recommendations of various medical organizations and reviewed the data from studies supporting and challenging the current guidelines, with a focus on screening guidelines for women age 40‐49 and the elderly. Recommendations are made for physicians on how to communicate with patients regarding screening controversies. Cancer 1995; 76:2064–9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2064-2069
Number of pages6
Issue number10 S
StatePublished - Nov 15 1995


  • breast cancer screening
  • controversy
  • current guidelines
  • mammography in women age 40‐49
  • screening of elderly women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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