Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Physician Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

JAMA Intern Med; ePub 2017 Apr 10; Radhakrishnan, et al

Primary care physicians (PCPs) and gynecologists largely recommend breast cancer screening for women aged ≥40 years, according to a recent survey of physicians about their breast cancer screening practices following recent guideline changes. The national survey was sent to 2,000 physicians randomly sampled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile from May to September 2016. It asked whether physicians typically recommend routine screening mammograms to women with no family history of breast cancer and no prior breast issues in different age groups and at what intervals. It also asked physicians (mean age 52.9 years; 70.6% non-Hispanic white) to indicate which organization’s screening guidelines they most trusted. Among the survey results:

  • 81% of physicians recommend screening to women aged 40 to 44 years, 88% to women aged 45 to 49 years, and 67% for women aged ≥75 years.
  • Gynecologists were more likely to recommended screening for women of all age groups compared with internal medicine (IM) and family medicine/general practice (FM/GP) physicians.
  • Among clinicians who recommend screening, most recommend annual exams.
  • 26% of physicians reported trusting American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines; followed by American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines (23%), and (US Preventive Services Task Force) USPSTF guidelines (22.9%).


Radhakrishnan A, Nowak SA, Parker AM, Visvanathan K, Pollack CE. Physician breast cancer screening recommendations following guideline changes. Results of a national survey. [Published online ahead of print April 10, 2017]. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0453.