How often should women get mammograms? A top Buffalo doctor says she has the answer for all women.

Posted at 9:29 PM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 21:29:08-04

The top doctor at Roswell Park's Breast Imaging Center says all women should abide by her advice about how often to get a mammogram.


But Dr. Ermelinda Bonaccio's suggestion is not necessarily agreed upon by other medical organizations.  


Bonaccio says all women over 40 years of age should get a mammogram annually. 


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests the same frequency and starting age, however at least two other credible organizations argue for a less frequent trip to the doctor.


The American Cancer Society says women should begin getting mammograms annually at age 45, and then every other year once they turn 55.


The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends women begin getting mammograms every two years beginning at age 50.


Bonaccio is insistent that starting mammograms at age 40 saves the most lives.


One reason for the difference in opinion is something called a "false positive."


Essentially, a false positive is a spot on the woman's breast that might look abnormal, but would never actually develop into breast cancer, thereby potentially causing undue concern and costly procedures.

Some say the more often a woman gets a mammogram, the more likely she is to get a false positive in her lifetime.


Bonaccio says the tomosynthesis machine that doctors use to scan the breasts works to reduce that false positive by taking 3D pictures. 



"You don’t have to worry about this technology potentially finding cancers that don’t matter. It’s actually finding cancers that do matter,” Bonaccio said.