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October 11, 2019

Time for a Mammogram? Sensible Screening Guidelines to Fine-Tune with Your Health Care Provider.

Sophia L. Thomas DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, so many are naturally anxious about it. Discrepancies in screening guidelines make it difficult to understand when and how to check for breast cancer, however. Here’s a sensible guide to help you start a conversation with your health care provider about what’s best for you.

Age 25+: All women should have a formal risk assessment for breast cancer. Women with a high risk should begin annual screenings before the age of 40 and receive additional imaging (MRI).

Age 40 – 44: Women of average risk should have the choice to receive annual mammograms.

Age 45 – 54: Women of average risk should receive annual mammograms.

Age 55+: Women of average risk should have mammograms every 2 years, and the choice to receive them annually if they prefer, until life expectancy is <10 years.

Additionally, women should receive a clinical breast exam at yearly physicals and conduct self-exams to detect early changes in breast tissue. Remember, early detection is key to a good prognosis!