A new public awareness campaign helmed by the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging, and the American Society of Breast Disease aims to encourage women aged 40 and older to receive regular mammograms. MammographySavesLives.org uses television and radio public service announcements to reach some of the nearly 40,000 women who die each year of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. With regular screening, 30% of those deaths could be prevented, says the American College of Radiology (ACR).

“In 2014, nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. Even though mammography has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate in the United States by more than 30 percent since 1990, and every major medical organization with expertise in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment recommends annual mammograms for women 40 and older, thousands will die in the next 12 months because they did not get a mammogram. This is a tragedy,” said Barbara S. Monsees, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission.

The MammographySavesLives.org website directs women to a list of accredited mammography facilities near their location, as well as information on breast density and how it can affect mammogram findings and breast cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer experts also discuss fact versus myth and explain why they recommend that women over 40 receive regular mammograms. The PSA will feature a breast cancer survivor and physician diagnosed in her 40s through mammography.

“Despite some limitations, mammograms save lives. A great many more breast cancer deaths could be avoided if more women would choose to begin regular screening at age 40,” said Murray Rebner, MD, president of the Society of Breast Imaging. “By not getting a regular mammogram after age 40, women increase their odds of dying from breast cancer and receiving more extensive therapy. The risks of being called back for additional images, followed up with imaging in six months or undergoing a minimally invasive biopsy are extremely low compared to the risk of dying from breast cancer.”

For more information, visit MammographySavesLives.org.