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Arizona Oncology Endorses New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines


Arizona Oncology Endorses New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

TUCSON, Arizona (June 1, 2019) — Arizona Oncology today endorsed new breast cancer screening recommendations that urge women to undergo a formal risk assessment by age 25 and have screenings scheduled based on specific risk factors, including heredity and race-based factors. The new guidelines, which come from the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS), are similar to the guidelines supported by the American College of Radiology and recommend yearly mammograms for women at average risk starting at age 40.

The ASBrS guidelines depart from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations for screenings starting at age 45 or older. Those guidelines apply to women with average risk and are based on adverse effects thought to be tied to screening costs, the probability of inaccurate results and unnecessary medical procedures.

“As a breast cancer surgeon, I have treated very young patients with late-stage breast cancer who would have greatly benefitted from a baseline risk assessment at age 25,” said Michele Boyce Ley, MD, FACS, who specializes in breast surgical oncology at Arizona Oncology. “Today we thankfully have tools available like online risk calculators and genetic testing which can help determine a patient’s risk for breast cancer. This gives us the opportunity to prevent cancer or treat it in its earliest form.”

The goal of the new guidelines is the customization of screening to the patient’s estimated lifetime risk of breast cancer:

Women at average risk, should begin mammography at age 40. This younger age aims to account for breast cancer outcome disparities noted among diverse populations in the U.S. The goal is to improve survival rates among women whose cancer might have otherwise been missed.

Women with a very strong family history or risk over 20% should start imaging at age 35.
Women with a BRCA gene mutation or other germline mutation known to predispose to a high risk of breast cancer should have imaging starting at age 25.

“By acknowledging the needs of the diverse population of adult women in our country, physicians are empowered to minimize breast cancer disparities through earlier detection of cancer in all women," added Dr. Ley.

Dr. Ley will be speaking about mammograms at the 2019 Tucson Woman’s Fair taking place in the Tucson Expo Center’s Sapphire Ballroom on August 3.

While most health insurers will cover some recommended strategies such as risk assessment and 3-D mammograms before age 50, the ASBrS specifically did not restrict guidelines to currently covered procedures.

About Arizona Oncology

Arizona Oncology is one of the largest medical groups in Arizona. With more than 75 practicing physicians devoted exclusively to providing comprehensive, compassionate and high-quality cancer care, Arizona Oncology specializes in Medical, Gynecologic, and Radiation Oncology, Hematology, Stem Cell Transplant, Urology, Colon and Rectal, Research, Genetic Risk Assessment, and patient ancillary programs. The physicians and their staff treat patients in many communities throughout the state including Deer Valley, East Valley (Tempe and East Mesa), Flagstaff, Glendale, Goodyear, Green Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Scottsdale, and Tucson.

Arizona Oncology believes it is beneficial to provide cancer therapies in a community setting, close to patients’ homes and support systems. The physicians are supported by a talented clinical team sensitive to the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. For more information, visit

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