ACR and SBI recommend earlier BC screening for African-Americans

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) have issued a joint recommendation that African-American women have a breast cancer risk assessment at age 30 to determine if they should undergo breast cancer screening earlier than age 40. These are included in new ACR/SBI breast cancer screening guidelines.

African-American women are at high risk to develop breast cancer. Black women have a two-fold higher risk of aggressive triple-negative breast tumors. They have a higher risk of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations than women of Western European ancestry. While they are less likely to be diagnosed with stage I breast cancer than Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic ancestry, they are twice as likely to die of early breast cancers. Forty-two percent of African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic Caucasian women, despite roughly equal incidence rates.

Both societies continue to recommend that breast cancer screening for women of average risk begin at age 40. The new guidelines also recommend that breast cancer survivors now be screened with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

“The latest scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports a continued general recommendation of starting annual screening at age 40. It also supports augmented and earlier screening for many women. These updates will help save more lives,” said Debra Monticciolo, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

Updated recommendations for screening of higher-risk women have been published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology and may be accessed here.


  1. Monticciolo DL, Newell MS, Moy L, et al. Breast cancer screening in women at higher-than-average risk: Recommendations from the ACR. J Am Coll Radiol. 15;3 Pt A:408-414.
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