Six years ago, the American Cancer Society lashed out against a federal task force that suggested most women could wait to get mammograms until age 50, instead of age 40, the age that other groups recommended beginning breast cancer screening.
Delaying mammograms, the cancer society said, would lead more women to die.
Now, in a move that reflects changing attitudes about cancer screening, the American Cancer Society is itself recommending fewer mammograms.
In guidelines released Tuesday, the society said that women at average risk of breast cancer should begin annual mammograms at age 45 — five years later than it had previously recommended. The society said it reached this conclusion after carefully weighing both the benefits and harms of mammograms for younger women, whose risk of breast cancer is much lower than that of older women.