- Breast cancer screening is important for all women over 45.
- Even those with no family history of breast cancer should have regular mammograms.
- The levels of radiation exposure caused by mammograms are minimal.
- Regular self-examination can provide an early warning for signs of the disease.
Breast cancer is one of the biggest health risks for women in the United States. It’s estimated that in 2022, 43,250 women will lose their lives to the disease, which makes breast cancer one of the nation’s leading causes of death for women.
One of the most impactful ways to lower breast cancer mortality is early diagnosis. By finding it as early as possible, breast cancer can be treated and any potential damage can be mitigated. The average risk of an American woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime is 13-percent, which means that screening done during regular health checkups can save many lives.
The recommended age for annual mammograms depends on your individual risk levels. The American Cancer Society used to recommend that all women over the age of 40 have an annual mammogram. They’ve since updated that recommendation. Today, they recommend annual mammograms for women aged 45 to 54, with mammograms every other year for those aged 55 and over.
Women aged 40 to 44 can still request mammograms if they wish to have them; however, they’re only considered necessary for those who are at an increased risk of breast cancer. Someone may be considered ‘at risk’ if there’s a family history of the condition or they have the BRCA gene or another mutation that increases cancer risk.