Many Alberta women will be able to start breast cancer screenings sooner after Alberta Health Services (AHS) made changes to the recommended age.

The recommended age, which used to be 50, has been lowered to 45 following an extensive review of new evidence.

In 2018 alone, more than 240 Alberta women between the ages of 45 and 49 were diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We hope this will help to diagnose breast cancer earlier and, in turn, help save lives,” said AHS committee co-chair Dr. Huiming Yang. 

Alberta women ages 45 to 74 are advised to have a breast cancer screening every two years. 

According to AHS, around 12,000 more screening mammograms could be performed each year for women aged 45 to 49.

The updated guidelines were created by the Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG).