Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
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 guidelinesopens 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 guidelinesopens 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 womenopens 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 mammographyopens 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 RadiologyInfo.orgopens in new tab/windowMammographySavesLives.orgopens 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.

The article is openly available at Advance/journals/jacr/Monticciolo_ACRHiRiskScr-1683132562870.pdfopens 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 Radiologyopens in new tab/windowJACRopens in new tab/windowinforms 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. www.jacr.orgopens 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. www.acr.orgopens in new tab/window

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific 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 with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELXopens in new tab/window, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information on our work, digital solutions and content, visit



Shawn Farley

ACR Director

Public Affairs

E-mail Shawn Farley