In addition to monthly self breast exams, professional breast exams and mammograms are important steps to take for breast cancer screening. Women age 40 years and older should have a mammogram every one to two years and a professional breast exam yearly for breast cancer screening.
Am I at risk for breast cancer?
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. You may be at higher risk if your mother, sister or daughter has had breast cancer. Many women do not know they have breast cancer until it is advanced.
Why is screening so important?
Finding the disease early with mammograms and breast exams by your doctor or nurse may save your life. A mammogram may show cancer that is too small for you or your doctor to feel. When breast cancer is found early, you have more treatment options.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray picture of the breast. A mammogram along with a breast exam by your doctor or nurse may find breast cancer at an early stage when it can best be treated. A mammogram does not cause cancer. Because the amount of radiation used is very low, the risk of any harm is extremely small.
What happens during a mammogram?
When you go for a mammogram, the technician taking the picture will place your breast between two x-ray panels. The panels will push your breast between them to get a clear picture. You may feel moderate discomfort, but each x-ray takes less than one minute.
Who should get one?
Women who are 40 years of age or older should get a mammogram every one to two years. Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care provider about whether to have a mammogram before age 40 and how often to have them. A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer is greater as she ages. Women in their 50s and older should get a mammogram yearly.
Remember, mammograms can save lives!
For additional information:
Discuss with your physician.
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Adapted from: National Cancer Institute (NCI)