New breast cancer guidelines in the US recommend against routine mammograms for women in their 40s, cutting the number of procedures to be carried out in hospitals.

The study recommends against routine mammography in women aged 40–49 years, expected to result in a sharp decrease in the number of mammograms with the aim of reducing false alarms for women as well as the cost of extra tests.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) analysed the efficacy of five breast cancer screening methods including film mammography, clinical breast examination, breast self-examination, digital mammography and MRI.

The USPSTF recommended biennial screening mammography for women aged 50–74 years, but recommended against teaching breast self-examination.

The new guidelines also said that there is insufficient evidence to identify the additional benefits and harms of digital mammography or MRI instead of film mammography as screening procedures for breast cancer.