Oncology Essentials

Impact of Changes to Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines on Healthcare Providers and Patients

Erin Hartnett

breast cancer, Screening, mammography, guidelines
CJON 2016, 20(2), 203-205. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.203-205

In October 2015, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated its evidence-based breast cancer screening guidelines for women at average risk for breast cancer. These guidelines introduced significant changes to the age to begin breast cancer screening, as well as the frequency between screenings and duration of screening. Not long afterward, in January 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its updated breast cancer screening guidelines, which differ from those of the ACS. The varying guidelines present challenges for healthcare providers and patients, particularly women aged 40–49 years.

At a Glance

  • With the American Cancer Society’s update of its breast cancer screening guidelines for average-risk women, a major change has occurred regarding the initiation and frequency of screening.
  • Many breast cancer screening guidelines, with varying recommendations, exist.
  • Nurses must continue to educate themselves on new breast cancer screening guidelines and be able to help women make informed decisions based on the available evidence, as well as each patient’s risk factors and personal values.
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