How Often Should I Get A Mammogram – In general, women should consider starting annual screening mammograms by age 40. At age 45, it is recommended that every woman begin annual screening, while women 55 and older should either continue with annual screening or move to biennial screening — once every two years. It is important to talk to your doctor about when is the right time for you to start screening.
Knowing how often and when to have a mammogram varies from person to person, depending on age, family history, genetic predisposition, and more. Mira members have access to specialist and imaging referrals, virtual primary care, mental health therapy, and personal emergency care. A membership to Mira costs just $25 per month. Sign up today to get started.
How Often Should I Get A Mammogram
Each person will experience different breast cancer symptoms, and some may experience no symptoms at all. Some signs of breast cancer, according to the CDC, include:
Breast Cancer Screening: 9 Things To Know Before Your First Mammogram
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and is the most common and effective way to screen for early signs of breast cancer. Regular breast cancer screening is vital, as early detection allows for more treatment options and a higher chance of survival. According to the Carol Milgard Breast Center, about 1 in 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Women whose breast cancer is detected early have a 93% higher chance of survival in the first five years after diagnosis.
Factors such as family history, personal history, radiation exposure, weight, race/ethnicity, diet, alcohol consumption, and menstrual history can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Dr. Melissa Frankel MD, a radiologist specializing in breast imaging at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends that “women should have a baseline screening mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39 with routine annual mammograms from the age of 40” and that “if you have a genetically proven elevated risk of breast cancer, you should consider having annual mammograms from the age of 30.”
About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. Regular checkups or preventive surgery are options to discuss with your doctor if you are at risk for hereditary breast cancer. Deciding to get genetically tested for any of these genes is a personal decision and should be carefully considered.
Women Should Be Told About Their Breast Density When They Have A Mammogram
Mammograms are performed in breast clinics, hospital radiology departments, private radiology offices, and doctor’s offices. Below are some tips to help you best prepare for a mammogram:
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Breast self-examination is helpful when used in conjunction with other screening methods such as a mammogram, physical examination by a physician, and in some cases ultrasound or MRI. All women are advised to perform routine breast self-exams as part of their overall breast cancer screening approach. dr. Frankel MD recommends, “All women should do a monthly breast self-exam. This includes both evaluating yourself in the mirror (looking for any asymmetries or dimples) and examining your breasts in both supine and upright positions (easiest among the shower) to feel for lumps.Click here to learn more about performing a breast self-exam.
Considering your circumstances is crucial when deciding how often and when you should have a screening mammogram. Below we answer some questions about mammograms and discuss various personal situations.
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Evaluating the risks of mammography is important to consider before your screening. Some of the risks are:
Mammograms expose patients to a low dose of radiation that can increase the risk of breast cancer. They can result in false positive results, which can cause anxiety and may lead to additional tests or procedures such as a biopsy (when the breast tissue is collected for further examination). In addition, the likelihood of receiving false positive results increases with the number of mammograms a woman has. “Overdiagnosis” is another potential risk to consider and is when cancer cells are treated that would not have developed into symptomatic cancer during a woman’s lifetime.
Finally, screening mammography can result in a false-negative result that can lead to treatment delays and possibly result from high breast density, which is more common in younger women. If the price of a screening mammogram is high, Mira offers low-cost access to specialist imaging referrals for as little as $25 a month.
Although the machines used are the same, diagnostic mammograms differ from screening mammograms. They are used to detect breast cancer after a lump or other symptoms of the disease are discovered. Screening is used to detect early signs of breast cancer that have not yet been found. If the results of a screening mammogram indicate something that may be cancerous, a patient may be recalled for a diagnostic mammogram. These take longer because more detailed X-rays are needed for the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.
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Yes. If you have breast implants, you should still get regular screening mammograms as recommended. Be sure to indicate this when planning your appointment. The implants can make it more difficult for the doctor to detect breast cancer, so more pictures are taken during the screening mammogram. If you had both or one breast removed before having an implant, you usually do not need a mammogram on the reconstructed breast.
Yes. However, regular screening mammography is not performed in pregnant women without symptoms. During pregnancy, your breasts undergo many changes that make it difficult to detect breast cancer. If you are experiencing breast cancer symptoms and are pregnant, it is generally safe to have one as the radiation level is low and only exposed to your breasts. A lead shield is also placed on the belly for extra protection.
Although mammography is the best screening tool today for detecting early signs of breast cancer, it is not perfect. Assessing your situation to determine when and how often you should have a screening mammogram is crucial in making this decision and should be discussed with a doctor.
It is recommended that every woman be screened for breast cancer, as early detection allows for more treatment options and a higher chance of survival. Mira helps you prioritize your health by providing access to specialist and imaging referrals, as well as virtual primary care, discounted gym memberships, and personal emergency care for just $25 a month.
How Often Should You Be Getting A Mammogram
Erica is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta with a BS in environmental science and a minor in English and is on track to graduate with her Masters in Public Health. She is passionate about health equity, women’s health and how the environment affects public health.
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Getting regular mammograms is widely recognized as the best way to detect breast cancer early, when women have the most treatment options and are most likely to have a favorable prognosis.
But not all mammograms are created equal. There are two different primary types — screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms — and some key differences between the two.
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Screening mammograms are performed for women who have no symptoms or signs of breast cancer and who are believed to be at average risk for breast cancer. Your first mammogram is considered a baseline mammogram against which all future tests will be compared to look for changes in your breast tissue.
Dr. Lisa Awan, a diagnostic radiologist at , said women should have annual mammograms starting at age 40, or 10 years prior to the age a first-degree relative — that is, your mother or a sister — was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Supports the recommendations of organizations such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American College of Surgeons that women over age 40 have a screening mammogram every year. They are also recommended for women 30 years of age or older who have a known genetic syndrome and are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Diagnostic mammograms are used for women who have symptoms such as a lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or whose breasts have changed in shape or size. Providers also use these to evaluate abnormalities detected in a screening mammogram.
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“Often this is followed by a focused ultrasound of the chest to further evaluate the area,” said Dr. awan. “Once a decision is made, the patient can either return to screening, come back for a follow-up exam, or have a biopsy.”
Both types of mammograms use low-dose X-rays to examine the breast. They can use either the standard 2-dimensional digital mammography or 3D mammograms known as tomosynthesis. The 17 regional breast imaging centers provide access to these and other technologies, including ABUS whole breast ultrasound, breast MRI and more.
While the technology is basically the same, there are a few key differences:
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