Doctors Continue To Order Mammograms Outside of Current Age Guidelines Interview with:
Archana Radhakrishnan MD MHS
Division of General Internal Medicine
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were interested in understanding the current practice trends in breast cancer screening recommendations by doctors in light of the guideline changes.  We performed a national survey of primary care providers and gynecologists asking about their breast cancer screening practices.

We found that a large number of doctors recommend breast cancer screening to younger and older women—upwards of 80% of doctors recommend it for younger women (ages 40-44) and almost 70% for women 75 and older.  But this varies by the type of doctor that a woman see.  Gynecologists were, in general, more likely to recommend routine mammograms. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Despite changes to guidelines, doctors continue to recommend routine mammograms for both younger and older women.  The recommendations varied depending on physician specialty—gynecologists were the most likely to recommend screening. Our results serve as a benchmark for breast cancer screening recommendations as guidelines continue to evolve. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: What our results suggest is that we need to understand the different barriers that doctors face in implementing clinical practice guidelines.

There is some disagreement between guidelines on when to start and stop screening and how frequently which may cause some uncertainty and raise concerns for doctors.

At the same time, we need to support doctors in their clinical practices and develop interventions that target the barriers that doctors face when making screening recommendations. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Radhakrishnan A, Nowak SA, Parker AM, Visvanathan K, Pollack CE. Physician Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Following Guideline ChangesResults of a National Survey. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 10, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0453

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on April 18, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD