When Should I Start Getting a Mammography?

woman physician giving mammogram

Mammograms are used for cancer screenings and can help detect the development of breast cancer before it produces any noticeable symptoms. It is a good idea to have one performed if you experience a lump, pain, skin dimpling, or discharge of the nipples.

It’s important not to wait until symptoms present themselves before undergoing a mammography. A mammogram is a valuable preventative measure that should be done on a regular basis for the majority of a woman’s life.

What Age Should Women Start to get Mammograms?

While women should learn about breast self-examination from an early age, it is vital to have a doctor examine breasts regularly. The necessity and frequency of the procedure will change from time to time based on age.

Between the ages of 40-45, it’s recommended to undergo a mammography every other year. Women should have the option to begin getting mammograms performed on an annual basis, but this is still considered optional.

By age 45 and onward, otherwise healthy women should be having the procedure done every year, preferably at the same time each year.

How Long Should a Woman Continue to Get Mammogram Examinations?

Consistent breast exams are crucial to managing cancer risk.

What Risk Factors Influence Mammography Frequency?

If you have certain risk factors, you should schedule a mammography screening more frequently than average. The more risk factors you have, the more valuable it is to commit to a proactive breast cancer-screening schedule.

Major risk factors include:

  • Age;
  • Genetic factors; family history of the BRCA gene
  • Family history of breast cancer;
  • Early menstrual period;
  • Late or no pregnancy;
  • Late menopause onset;
  • Weight problems after menopause;
  • Radiation therapy;
  • Alcohol use.

Women with significant risk factors, undetermined mammography or abnormal findings should also consider undergoing a digital 3D mammography, which can be done at the same time as each mammogram. Ask your doctor if you believe you may benefit.

Medical professionals point out that, though there is no substitute for mammography, it is necessary to perform regular breast self-examinations. Doing so once a week will increase your odds of recognizing early breast cancer symptoms between screenings.

What Are the Benefits of a Mammogram?

About 12% of women develop invasive breast cancer at some point in life. Getting regular breast cancer screenings through mammography helps your doctor to detect and diagnose the problem early.

Through early detection and prompt treatment, many women will achieve complete remission of breast cancer. Mammograms are essential to protecting yourself against the advancement of breast cancer and safeguarding your long-term health.

Tri-County Medical Clinic Can Help With Breast Cancer Concerns

Expert advice can help you monitor your breast cancer risk or take action if you believe you may have breast cancer. If you have any questions about breast cancer risks and preventions, contact us today.

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