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Press release

New ACR Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines call for earlier and more-intensive screening for high-risk women

Philadelphia | May 4, 2023

Black women considered high-risk – need earlier screening

New American College of Radiology® (ACR®) breast cancer screening guidelines(opens in new tab/window) now call for all women — particularly Black and Ashkenazi Jewish women — to have risk assessment by age 25 to determine if screening earlier than age 40 is needed. The ACR continues to recommend annual screening starting at age 40 for women of average risk, but earlier and more intensive screening for high-risk patients. The new ACR guidelines(opens in new tab/window) for high-risk women were published online May 3 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR)(opens in new tab/window).

Other notable updates:

  • Women with genetics-based increased risk (including BRCA1 carriers), those with a calculated lifetime risk of 20% or more and those exposed to chest radiation at a young age are recommended to have MRI surveillance starting at ages 25 to 30. These women should start annual mammography at ages 25 to 40, depending on type of risk.

  • Women diagnosed with breast cancer prior to age 50 or with personal history of breast cancer and dense breasts should have annual supplemental breast MRI.

  • High-risk women who desire supplemental screening — but cannot undergo MRI screening — should consider contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM).

“The latest scientific evidence continues to point to earlier assessment as well as augmented and earlier-than-age-40 screening of many women — particularly Black women and other minority women,” said Debra Monticciolo, MD, FACR, primary author of the new guidelines and division chief, Breast Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. “These evidence-based updates should spur more-informed doctor-patient conversations and help providers save more lives.”

Factors that contributed to the ACR reclassification of Black women(opens in new tab/window) and other minorities to high-risk include that, compared to non-Hispanic white women:

  • Prior to age 50, minority women are: 127% more likely to die of breast cancer; 72% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer; and 58% more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer.

  • Black women are 42% more likely to die from breast cancer despite roughly equal incidence rates.

  • Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with stage I breast cancer but twice as likely to die of early breast cancers.

  • Black women have a two-fold higher risk of aggressive — “triple-negative” — breast tumors and a higher risk of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations (placing them at higher risk).

“Since 1990, breast cancer death rates in Black women, who develop and die from the disease earlier, have only dropped approximately half as fast as in white women,” said Stamatia Destounis, MD, FACR, co-author of the new guidelines, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission and managing partner at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care in Rochester, NY.“We continue to regularly examine the latest evidence and update our recommendations to help save more Black women and others at high risk from this deadly disease.”

According to National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, since mammography(opens in new tab/window) became widespread in the 1980s, the US breast cancer death rate in women, unchanged for the previous 50 years, has dropped 43%. Breast cancer deaths in men, who have the same treatment as women but are not screened, have not declined.

For more information regarding the proven effectiveness of regular mammography screening at reducing breast cancer deaths, please visit in new tab/window) in new tab/window) and in new tab/window)


Notes for editors

The article is "Breast Cancer Screening for Women at Higher-than-Average Risk: Updated Recommendations from the ACR,” by Debra L. Monticciolo, MD, FACR, Mary S. Newell, MD, Linda Moy, MD, Cindy S. Lee, MD, and Stamatia V. Destounis, MD. It appears in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, published by Elsevier(opens in new tab/window).

The article is openly available at Advance/journals/jacr/Monticciolo_ACRHiRiskScr-1683132562870.pdf(opens in new tab/window).

To speak with a spokesperson, contact Shawn Farley, Kevin R. Walter or Carly Simpson at [email protected](opens in new tab/window).

About the Journal of the American College of Radiology

The official journal of the American College of Radiology(opens in new tab/window)JACR(opens in new tab/window)informs its readers of timely, pertinent, and important topics affecting the practice of diagnostic radiologists, interventional radiologists, medical physicists, and radiation oncologists. The journal’s goals are to improve patient care, support the practice of radiology and imaging, and move the science forward in health services research and policy, clinical practice management, data science, training and education, and leadership. in new tab/window)

About the American College of Radiology

The American College of Radiology (ACR)(opens in new tab/window), founded in 1924, is a 42,000-member medical association that advances patient care, medical practice and collaborative results through advocacy, quality standards, research and education. in new tab/window)

About Elsevier

As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across the global research and health ecosystems. In everything we publish, we uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity. We bring that same rigor to our information analytics solutions for researchers, academic leaders, funders, R&D-intensive corporations, doctors, and nurses.  

Elsevier employs 9,000 people worldwide, including over 2,500 technologists. We have supported the work of our research and health partners for more than 140 years. Growing from our roots in publishing, we offer knowledge and valuable analytics that help our users make breakthroughs and drive societal progress. Digital solutions such as ScienceDirect,  Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath support strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, medical education, and nursing education. Researchers and healthcare professionals rely on over 2,800 journals, including The Lancet(opens in new tab/window) and Cell(opens in new tab/window); 46,000+ eBook titles; and iconic reference works, such as Gray's Anatomy. With the Elsevier Foundation(opens in new tab/window) and our external Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board, we work in partnership with diverse stakeholders to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world. 

Elsevier is part of RELX(opens in new tab/window), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.



Shawn Farley

ACR Director

Public Affairs

Read more about Shawn Farley