Why Should I have a Mammogram?

Health Minute

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Mammography screens healthy women for signs of breast cancer. It is also used to 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. Breast cancer is more easily treated and often curable if it is found early. Early detection involves:

  • Breast self-exams (BSE)
  • Clinical breast exams (CBE) by a medical professional
  • Screening mammography

Most experts recommend that women age 20 and older examine their breasts once a month during the week following the menstrual period. Women between the ages 20 and 39 should have a doctor examine their breasts at least once every three years.

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. Women should call their doctor immediately if they notice change in their breasts whether or not they do routine breast self-exams.

Women 40 and older should have a complete breast exam by their doctor every year.

Mammography is the most effective way of finding breast cancer early.  Certain women at high risk for breast cancer may have a breast MRI along with their yearly mammogram. Ask your doctor if you need an MRI.

Screening for breast cancer is a topic filled with controversy. A woman needs to have an informed and balanced discussion with her doctor, along with doing additional reading and researching on her own, to determine if a mammogram is right for her.

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It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.