Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment: Resource Overview

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed noncutaneous cancer in women in the United States, and the second leading cause of death from cancer in American women. Breast cancer mortality can be effectively reduced through screening and awareness. Other issues include BRCA and mammograms. Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women’s health, play a leading role in breast cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. 

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in this area.

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Committee Opinion: Aromatase Inhibitors in Gynecologic Practice

"Aromatase Inhibitors in Gynecologic Practice," issued in June 2016, addresses the use of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of breast cancer and other gynecologic conditions.  In comparison with tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors are associated with a reduced incidence of thrombosis, endometrial cancer, and vaginal bleeding. For women with breast cancer, bone mineral density screening is recommended with long-term aromatase inhibitor use because of the risk of osteoporosis due to estrogen deficiency.

Practice Bulletin: Diagnosis and Management of Benign Breast Disorders

"Diagnosis and Management of Benign Breast Disorders," issued in June 2016, addresses the diagnosis and treatment of non-cancerous breast disorders including benign breast lesions and masses, nipple discharge, mastalgia or breast pain, inflammatory breast disorders, and skin changes of the breast.

Committee Opinion: The Use of Vaginal Estrogen in Women With a History of Estrogen-Dependent Breast Cancer

"The Use of Vaginal Estrogen in Women With a History of Estrogen-Dependent Breast Cancer," issued in March 2016, addresses the risks of hormone therapy for menopausal breast cancer survivors. It concludes that while there is no proof of increased risk of cancer recurrence among women with a history of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, estrogen should only be used if nonhormonal therapies are ineffective, and in consultation with a woman’s oncologist.

Committee Opinion: Hereditary Cancer Syndromes and Risk Assessment

"Hereditary Cancer Syndromes and Risk Assessment," issued by ACOG in June 2015, explains the importance of a hereditary cancer risk assessment in identifying patients who might be at risk of developing breast cancer. At-risk patients should be referred to a specialist in cancer genetics.

Committee Opinion: Management of Women with Dense Breasts Diagnosed by Mammography

"Management of Women with Dense Breasts Diagnosed by Mammography," issued by ACOG in March 2015, explains that while women with dense breasts experience reduced sensitivity of mammography to detect breast cancer, mammography is still the most useful tool for breast cancer detection. The routine use of alternative or adjunctive tests in asymptomatic women with no additional risk factors is not recommended.

Practice Bulletin: Lynch Syndrome (members only)

"Lynch Syndrome," issued in November 2014, covers the background, screening and treatment for Lynch Syndrome, an inherited cancer susceptibility that can increase the risk of gynecologic and colorectal cancers, including breast cancer.

Committee Opinion: Tamoxifen and Uterine Cancer

"Tamoxifen and Uterine Cancer," issued by ACOG in June 2014, addresses the risk of uterine cancer in breast cancer patients treated with Tamoxifen and recommends care to prevent and detect uterine cancer in women receiving the drug.

Practice Bulletin: Breast Cancer Screening (members only)

“Breast Cancer Screening,” issued by ACOG in August 2011 (reaffirmed 2014), reviews breast cancer screening guidelines and the evidence used to support the recommendations and highlight new screening modalities and controversies surrounding screening. The guideline advises that based on the incidence of breast cancer, the sojourn time for breast cancer growth, and the potential reduction in breast cancer mortality, women aged 40 years and older be offered a screening mammogram annually.

Technology Assessment: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (member only)

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis,” issued by ACOG in June 2013, reviews clinical data that suggest that digital mammograms with tomosynthesis produces a better image, improved accuracy, and lower recall rates compared with digital mammograms alone. Mammograms have been the primary screening test for early breast cancer for more than five decades, but conventional mammogram imaging continues to have limitations in sensitivity and specificity.

How I Practice Video Series: Breast Cancer Screening

Breast Cancer Screening,” a video in the How I Practice series, issued in June 2013, features William L. Rayburn, MD, FACOG, who describes his clinical approach to breast cancer screening. He discusses the current guidelines he follows, mammograms, timing of the initial screening, self breast exams, and breast exams by a health care professional.

Practice Bulletin: Management of Gynecologic Issues in Women with Breast Cancer (members only)

Management of Gynecologic Issues in Women with Breast Cancer,” issued by ACOG in March 2012 (reaffirmed 2014), reviews the effect of breast cancer treatment on common women’s health issues such as fertility, contraceptive management, menopause, sexual function, and osteoporosis, and to provide a rationale for follow-up and treatment of these gynecologic issues.

Committee Opinion: Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk

Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk,” issued by ACOG in June 2009 (reaffirmed 2013), covers the relationship between induced abortion and the subsequent development of breast cancer. Early studies of the relationship between prior induced abortion and breast cancer risk were methodologically flawed. More rigorous recent studies demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.

Practice Bulletin: Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (members only)

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome,” issued by ACOG in April 2009 (reaffirmed 2013), covers screening and prevention strategies to reduce patients’ breast cancer risks. Clinical genetic testing for gene mutations allows physicians to more precisely identify women who are at substantial risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Recommendations are provided based on scientific evidence.


Resources for Women and Patients

Patient FAQ: Mammography and Other Screening Tests for Breast Problems

"Mammography and Other Screening Tests for Breast Problems," issued by ACOG in May 2015, explains how screening tests, mammography, clinical breast exams and breast self-awareness help screen women for breast problems such as breast cancer. 

Patient FAQ: Benign Breast Problems and Conditions

Benign Breast Problems and Conditions,” issued by ACOG in November 2012, explains what are benign breast problems and conditions including cysts and lumps and how they are best diagnosed and treated.

Patient FAQ: Breast Screening: Mammography and Breast Self-Awareness (#178)

Mammography and Other Screening Tests for Breast Problems,” issued by ACOG in April 2015, covers what is a breast cancer screening test and why it is used, what is a mammogram and how to prepare for one, what is a clinical breast exam and why is it done, and what is breast self-awareness and why that is important.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998