THE National Cancer Institute (NCI) has accepted a recommendation from its advisory board that women in their 40s who "are at average risk" of breast cancer get a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
The decision by the NCI reverses its position, promulgated at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus conference earlier this year (JAMA. 1997; 277:519-520), that routine mammography is not indicated for women in their 40s.
The recommendation from the National Cancer Advisory Board, appointed by President Clinton, promises to defuse a politically controversial issue.
Previously, the NCI said the data were not strong enough to justify recommending populationwide, routine mammographic screening of women in this age group. When the NIH consensus conference in January essentially reaffirmed this position, its report set off protests from breast cancer screening advocates and their congressional supporters.
Richard Klausner, MD, NCI director, asked the institute's 18-member advisory board to take