AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – According to federal health officials, the new recommended age for women to start getting mammograms is 40-years-old, when it was previously 50.

These guidelines are based on evidence that shows more and more women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Even in my time here working at the Medical College of Georgia, we’re seeing very young females being diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Dr. Jordan Ciuro at Georgia Cancer Center. “And as we all know, breast cancer is very common in females. Actually the data shows us that one in eight females are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.”

This recommendation is for women who are considered at an “average risk” for breast cancer. But for those who are at high risk, experts are urging screenings at an even younger age.

“It’s very important for females and males to actually seek their providers and give appropriate histories, that way we can guide our therapies and screening methods to them,” Dr. Ciuro said.

Although men have a significantly lower chance of having breast cancer than women, the threat is still there.

“It is important to tell our male patients if they are experiencing any type of mass in their breast or a mass in their axilla, or what we call the armpit area – it’s important to tell their provider and not be embarrassed because this is possible,” Dr. Ciuro said.

According to The American Cancer Society, one of the most at-risk groups is Black women, who have a 40% higher chance of dying from breast cancer than white women.

Dr. Ciuro said she hopes the new recommendation will help address this.

“In our Black patient population we have to really uncover why are they presenting at later ages?” she said. “Why are they presenting with more aggressive types of breast cancer? And what can we do to focus on that patient population, along with various other ethnic groups?”

To learn about payment options, and to schedule a mammogram appointment at Augusta University’s Breast Health center, click here.