About 12.4%, or one in eight, women in the U.S. will develop an invasive form of breast cancer. While the rates have decreased since 2000, there are still an estimated 266,120 new cases expected in 2018. Over 40,000 women are expected to lose their lives to breast cancer this year. You and your loved ones can protect yourselves with information and regular screenings.
Women Under 40
Healthy women under age 40 are not advised to undergo mammograms. This is because breast tissue tends to be denser, making the screening less effective. There is a lower risk of developing the condition at a younger age. Your doctor can review risk factors to decide whether or not you should wait.
Women Between 40 and 44
Women are advised to begin breast cancer screenings around age 40. The American College of Physicians recommended raising the starting age to 50 for healthy women. The previous guideline was once per year, but some medical professionals now suggest once per two years. Talk to your gynecologist about your risks to determine the best mammogram schedule for you.
Women Between 45 and 54
Women should continue regular screenings through age 54. If you didn’t start in your 40s, make sure you schedule your first mammogram by the time you are 50.
Women Over 55
Once women reach the age of 55, healthy women can usually stick to a two-year mammogram schedule. Make sure you go over health status and risk factors with your doctor before making this decision.
Women of All Ages
Women of all ages should learn about breast cancer, its causes, and symptoms. They should also understand what mammograms are and their limitations as well as any risks that are associated with having them. This is the best way to make informed decisions about your health. Contact Women’s Health and Menopause Center to schedule an appointment and learn more or to find out when you should begin breast cancer screenings.
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