How often should screenings occur?  When should I start getting screenings?  There are many questions when it comes to breast cancer screening, and many of their answers cannot be agreed upon by everyone.  The American Cancer Society says that women should start at age 40 and the US Preventative Services Task Force says 50.  The truth is it all just depends; it depends on the person. 

 However, Dr. Oguzhan Alagoz, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a helpful decision-making model to tailor breast cancer screening schedule for individuals.  This model was just published and explained in Operations Research this month. 

 The model calculates the individual’s risk of cancer, which depends on a number of factors.  It takes into account of the patient’s genetics, age and other personal factors.  It also takes a look at the details of her screening history.   Additionally, it also helps to bring down the false positives and improve the quality of life for women, who do end up with false positives.

 The study aims to individualize screening plans to help determine the best times for someone to start getting screenings.  Early detection is crucial to survival and having a custom plan can never hurt.  Don’t forget to do self exams as well!

 Go check out Alagoz’s whole study and model!