By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The American Cancer Society says when it comes to mammograms, less may be more.

New guidelines say women should start getting mammograms at age 45, not 40. The organization also says it’s OK to skip routine manual breast checks by doctors.

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The American Cancer Society says the earlier testing age has proven to be unnecessary, giving women in their early 40s a high false positive rate.

“The breast tissue is very dense,” United Health Center surgical oncologist Dr. Justin Baker said. “They’re still having hormonal changes to the breast tissue and that can make breast tissue harder to look at on mammogram.”

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Dr. Baker says while it’s safe to wait until 45 to get tested, the same guidelines do not apply to high-risk patients, including patients with a strong family history of breast cancer or if they’ve had abnormalities in the past. For those patients, age 40 or even earlier might be considered depending on risk factors.

Even with the new guidelines doctors say you can still test at 40 if you want. If you notice a lump, always get it checked out.

“Anytime a woman notices an abnormality or a change in their breast they absolutely should be seen by their provider,” Dr. Baker said.

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The guidelines also do away with the old recommendation to continue yearly mammograms after you start. Every other year after age 55 on is okay.

Kate Raddatz