There’s no doubt that having regular mammograms is the best way to detect breast cancer. However, you may be wondering when you should start having mammograms and how often you should have one.
You should start by talking to your healthcare provider about when you should have a mammogram. When you should have a mammogram depends on a few factors, including:
Your doctor will review these factors and talk to you about the benefits and risks of mammography. Your doctor also will go over the breast cancer screening guidelines and what they mean for you.
Different health and medical organizations each issue their own breast cancer screening guidelines that may be similar, but are not exactly the same. And, most guidelines only apply to women who have an average risk of developing breast cancer; if you have a higher risk, you might need to begin breast cancer screening at a younger age or have screenings more often.
That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about a personalized recommendation.
However, here are the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening recommendations for women with an average breast cancer risk, by age:
Breast self-exams can help you to learn how your breasts normally look and feel so you can spot any changes that may occur between mammograms. The most common breast cancer symptom is a lump or mass in your breast, but other symptoms may include:
If you notice any of these breast changes, you should let your doctor know right away.
When and how often you have mammograms is a decision that you and your doctor should make together. If you are due for a breast cancer screening, Fort HealthCare offers comprehensive mammography services, including 3D mammography. You can also request an appointment online.