New guidelines for breast cancer screening have been released by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and published in the CMAJ.
Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Recommendations on screening for breast cancer in average-risk women aged 40-74 years. CMAJ. 2011; 183 (17): 1991- 2001. Available from: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/183/17/1991
A summary of the new recommendations included in these guidelines are available on page 1995.
“Recommendations are presented for the use of mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), breast self-examination and clinical breast examination to screen for breast cancer (see Box 1). These recommendations apply only to women at average risk of breast cancer aged 40 –74 years. They do not apply to women at higher risk because of personal history of breast cancer, history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives, known mutations of the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes or previous exposure of the chest wall to radiation. No recommendations are made for women aged 75 years and older, given the lack of data available for this group.
• For women aged 40–49 years, we recommend not routinely screening with mammography. (Weak recommendation; moderate-quality evidence)
• For women aged 50–69 years, we recommend routinely screening with mammography every two to three years. (Weak recommendation; moderate-quality evidence)
• For women aged 70–74 years, we recommend routinely screening with mammography every two to three years. (Weak recommendation; lowquality evidence)
Magnetic resonance imaging
• We recommend not routinely screening with MRI scans. (Weak recommendation; no evidence)
Clinical breast examination
• We recommend not routinely performing clinical breast examinations alone or in conjunction with mammography to screen for breast cancer. (Weak recommendation; low-quality evidence)
• We recommend not advising women to routinely practice breast self-examination. (Weak recommendation; moderate-quality evidence)”
The Canadian Association of Radiologists responded (unfavorably) to these guidelines.
Vogel, L. Breast-screening guidelines fuel firestorm. CMAJ. (News). 2011. Available from: http://www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/22nov11_breast-screening-guidelines-fuel-firestorm.xhtml
Orvie Dingwall, BA, MLIS, AHIP
Outreach Services Librarian
Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library
University of Manitoba