Should You Get a Mammogram?

Women wearing pink for breast cancer

Breast cancer screening guidelines are straightforward — women at an average risk for breast cancer should begin annual screening mammograms starting at age 40. So if you are a woman 40 years or older, you should talk to your doctor about mammography.

Not all women have the same risk for breast cancer, though. Your personal risk for cancer affects when you should start mammography and how often you should get a mammogram.

Women at an average risk for breast cancer should get a mammogram every year starting at age 40. However, you may need to screen sooner, or more often, if you're at a higher risk for cancer. Click To Tweet

A mammogram can save your life

Mammography helps detect breast cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable. Annual mammography leads to the most life years gained and greatest decrease in mortality for women with breast cancer, according to the Society of Breast Imaging.

81 percent of physicians recommend patients start getting mammograms between the ages of 40 and 44; 63 percent of physicians recommend getting a mammogram every year.

The Breast Center recommends women start annual mammography to screen for breast cancer starting at age 40. This is what the American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute, and Society of Breast Imaging recommend as well.

Know your risk for breast cancer

Your personal risk for breast cancer shapes what you need to do to protect yourself from the disease.

Most women have a 13 percent lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. However, some women are at a higher risk than others. Women at an increased risk for breast cancer may need a different approach to screening for breast cancer than women at an average risk for breast cancer.

Other facts also influence the screening options that are right for you. For example, women with dense breasts should consider breast ultrasound in addition to annual mammography.

Learning your personal risk for breast cancer allows you and your healthcare provider to develop a breast cancer screening plan that offers the best protection from the disease.

Knowing your personal risk for breast cancer helps you, but it can also help your children, siblings, and other family members take charge of their own breast health. Get in touch with The Breast Center to schedule your mammogram or learn more about your personal risk for breast cancer.

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