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When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?

Screening mammography starting at age 40 results in the greatest number of lives saved. Screening mammography can detect cancer early, sometimes years before a anything abnormal can be felt. Finding breast cancer in its earliest stages can allow for less invasive and more successful treatment.

Guidelines for when to begin mammography screening vary among medical groups. At FRC, we agree with the Society of Breast Imaging, American Society of Breast Diseases, and the American College of Radiology standards. These groups recommend that women begin yearly mammography at the age of 40.

About 75% of women who get breast cancer have no identifiable risk factor. Some women are at a higher risk for breast cancer and may benefit from getting their baseline (first) mammogram earlier.

Factors that increase a woman’s risk level include:

  • Personal history of breast cancer or prior biopsy
  • First degree relative with breast cancer
  • Presence of the genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • A history of chest radiation therapy
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Menarche before 12, no pregnancies before 30, or menopause after 55
  • Some lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol, and obesity

Breast cancer screening saves lives. Speak with your doctor about your risk factors and when you should have your mammogram.

Learn more about breast cancer screenings.

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