When Should One Begin Having Mammograms?

By Advanced Imaging of Port Charlotte –

Lately, there has been quite a bit of conflicting information on when women should begin having mammograms and if there is a magic age when women can stop having mammograms. Every time a new study comes out or a new recommendation is made, women become confused and perhaps even complacent in having their annual mammogram. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “Well, I’m overdue for my mammogram.” When asked how far overdue, often the answer is somewhere in the range of two to three years. Many women even have a written order for the mammogram; they just don’t have it done.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin having clinical breast exams every three years beginning at the age of 20. Mammograms are recommended beginning at 40 for women without a familial history of breast cancer. Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them. Currently, the recommendation is that as long as a woman is in good health, she should continue to have a mammogram. As always, consult your physician with any questions or for recommendations as to how often you should have a mammogram.

What Factors Increase a Woman’s Risk of Breast Cancer?
The strongest risk factor for breast cancer is age. A woman’s risk of developing this disease increases as she gets older. The risk of breast cancer, however, is not the same for all women in a given age group. Research has shown that women with the following risk factors have an increased chance of developing breast cancer:

A personal history of breast cancer – Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to develop a second breast cancer.

A family history – A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer increases if her mother, sister, and/or daughter have been diagnosed with the disease, especially if they were diagnosed before age 50. Having a close male blood relative with breast cancer also increases a woman’s risk of developing the disease (cancer.gov).

Breast MRI
At times, a Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is necessary. A breast MRI is generally performed when your physician needs additional information that they were unable to obtain from the mammogram or ultrasound. At times, a mammogram and breast MRI may be ordered together in order to give a complete view of the breast. A mammogram is still the standard of care, but breast MRI can be used to determine the extent of cancer after diagnosis, to see if underlying muscle is involved , to see if there are other cancers in the same breast or if there is cancer present in the other breast as well.

A Complete Women’s Center
Advanced Imaging of Port Charlotte has a complete Women’s Center which is designed for both the comfort and care of the patient. At Advanced Imaging, the patient’s comfort and peace of mind are paramount. Mammograms, ultrasounds, DEXA, Breast MRI and biopsies are performed by Dr. Thomas Fabian and Dr. Harminder Gill. With the most advanced technology and a décor designed for comfort and privacy, Advanced Imaging is the clear choice for all your imaging needs. Please call 941-235-4646 or visit us online at www.advimaging.com to learn more.

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