When Should I Have a Mammogram?

Health Minute

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Mammograms screen healthy women for breast cancer. They also evaluate a woman who has symptoms of a breast disease, such as a lump, nipple discharge, breast pain, dimpling of the skin on the breast, or retraction of the nipple.

Mammograms help find breast cancer early when it is more likely to be curable.

Most but not all organizations recommend women begin breast cancer screening at age 40 and then have a mammogram every year.

Women who have or had mothers or sisters with breast cancer may begin yearly mammograms earlier. Discuss this with your Premier HealthNet physician.
 
Experts recommend certain women at very high risk of breast cancer should also have a breast MRI along with their yearly mammogram. Ask your doctor if you need an MRI. Breast ultrasound may also be used to screen women at high risk.

In addition to a mammogram, clinical breast exams done by a health care professional and monthly breast self-exams are recommended.

  • Women age 20 and older should have a clinical breast exam every three years.
  • Women age 40 and older should have a clinical breast exam every year.

The American Cancer Society recommends all women age 20 and older perform monthly breast self-examination.

These are general recommendations for mammography, clinical breast exams, and breast self-exam. Women should discuss with their physician how often to receive breast cancer screening, including mammography and clinical breast exam. Recommendations vary depending on personal risk factors such a strong family history of breast cancer.

The National Cancer Institute also describes the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogramOff Site Icon.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.