Breast cancer screening 101
Cancer screening is recommended for women without breast symptoms. Screening can often detect tumors before they spread, which increases the probability of successful treatment. The Affordable Care Act mandates mammograms at no cost.
- Have clinical breast exams — exams by a health professional — at least once every three years starting in your 20s and 30s.
- Become familiar with how your breasts normally feel so you can detect changes.
- Initiate yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams at the age of 40.
- Get a yearly MRI as well as mammogram if you are at very high risk for breast cancer.
- Establish a screening schedule with your doctor that accommodates your personal risk. Some people may start screening before the age of 40.
Source: American Cancer Society
A risk factor is a characteristic that increases a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. Having one or more risk factors is not a guarantee that you will get the disease. In fact, many women with multiple risk factors never get breast cancer. However, having no identifiable risk factor other than gender or age does not make a women immune to breast cancer.