Prominent local oncologists are in support of new research that recommends that women begin undergoing annual screenings for breast cancer at age 40, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
A study published in the journal Cancer reports starting annual mammograms at 40, and not at 45 which is currently recommended, could save thousands of women's lives each year.
Dr. Steven Kalter, who is an onologist at San Antonio's START Center for Cancer Care, says the sooner the better, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer.
"If the mother had her breast cancer at age 45, then perhaps the daughter should start her screening at age 35," Kalter said.
Researchers at the University of Chicago say its simple, if you start screening earlier, you will detect more cancers in the early stages, where they are easier to treat and are far less likely to spread. But some researchers caution against 'too much screening,' saying that is likely to lead to 'false positive' testing and spark unnecessary biopsies and anxiety.
Dr. Kalter says mammographies are inexpensive, and are generally covered by insurance.
"The only test that has been shown without a doubt that has been shown to prevent women from dying of breast cancer is mammography," he said.
All oncologists agree that, by age 50, women should be in a pattern of regular screening, annually until age 54, and then every other year after that.