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. Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women’s health, play a leading role in breast cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has identified the following resources on breast cancer screening and shared decision making that may be helpful for ob-gyns, other health care providers, and patients. 

These materials are for information purposes only and are not meant to be comprehensive. Referral to these resources does not imply ACOG’s endorsement of the organization, the organization’s website, or the content of the resource. The resources may change without notice.

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

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

Practice Bulletin: Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Screening in Average-Risk Women

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Screening in Average-Risk Women,” issued by ACOG in July 2017, discusses breast cancer risk assessment and screening guidelines in average-risk women, and outlines some of the controversies surrounding breast cancer screening. It provides recommendations for using a framework of shared decision making to assist women in considering their values regarding the benefits and harms of screening.

Committee Opinion: Aromatase Inhibitors in Gynecologic Practice

"Aromatase Inhibitors in Gynecologic Practice," issued by ACOG in June 2016, addresses the use of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of breast cancer and other gynecologic conditions. 

Practice Bulletin: Diagnosis and Management of Benign Breast Disorders (members only)

"Diagnosis and Management of Benign Breast Disorders," issued by ACOG 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 by ACOG in March 2016, addresses the risks of hormone therapy for menopausal breast cancer survivors.

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 by ACOG and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in November 2014 (reaffirmed 2016), discusses screening and prevention strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality from 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.

Technology Assessment: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (members only)

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis,” issued by ACOG in June 2013 (reaffirmed 2015), reviews clinical data that suggest that digital mammograms with tomosynthesis produce a better image, improved accuracy, and lower recall rates compared with digital mammograms alone.

How I Practice Video Series: Breast Cancer Screening

Breast Cancer Screening,” a video in the How I Practice series, issued in January 2015, features Sharon Mass, MD, FACOG, who describes her clinical approach to breast cancer screening. She discusses the current guidelines she 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 2016), reviews the effect of breast cancer treatment on common women’s health issues such as fertility, contraceptive management, menopause, sexual function, and osteoporosis, and provides 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 2015), 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 and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in April 2009 (reaffirmed 2017), provides an overview of this inherited cancer-susceptibility syndrome and discusses screening and prevention strategies for women identified to be at increased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 


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 April 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 March 2017, explains what are benign breast problems and conditions including cysts and lumps and how they are best diagnosed and treated.


External Resources

Breast Cancer Screening

American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines and Resources 

This webpage includes the American Cancer Society’s 2015 breast cancer screening recommendations, as well as links to related patient and clinician resources and supplementary materials.

National Comprehensive Care Network Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines 

This is a direct link to the National Comprehensive Care Network’s Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis guidelines, which can be accessed with a free account log-in.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines and Resources 

This summary of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s 2016 breast cancer screening recommendations includes the Task Force’s final report as well as links to related patient and clinician resources and supplementary materials.

Shared Decision-Making

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: SHARE Approach 

This webpage outlines the SHARE Approach, a five-step process developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to support clinicians in engaging their patients in shared health-care decision making. The process includes exploring and comparing the benefits and harms of each option through meaningful dialogue about what matters most to the patient.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: SHARE Approach curriculum tools 

This webpage contains a compilation of tools, including videos, fact sheets, and success stories, to help clinicians implement the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s SHARE Approach for shared patient–physician health-care decision making.

Breast Screening Decisions 

The Breast Screening Decisions tool was developed by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to help average-risk women aged 40–49 years make informed, personalized decisions about when to start and how often to have mammography for breast cancer screening. This decision aid is intended for use in consultation with a physician.

ePrognosis 

ePrognosis is a decision aid app developed with the support of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, to help women 50 years and older and their clinicians make informed, personalized decisions about breast cancer screening.


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 58,000 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.

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