Knowing exactly when to start adding a mammogram to your calendar can be different for everyone. While age plays a key role in deciding when to start receiving mammograms, there are a few other factors that may impact your decision!
Some of these factors may include:
As women age, their likelihood of developing breast cancer increases. As you get older it is important to add an annual mammogram to your care plan.
Women between the ages of 40 and 44 have the choice of scheduling a yearly mammogram. At the age of 45, women should get mammograms every year until they are 54. Around age 55, women can choose to continue with annual mammograms or they can choose to be screened every two years.
According to the American Cancer Society, 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary. In these cases, there is a gene mutation that increases the likelihood that you may be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in your life. The good news is that genetic testing can be conducted to check to see if you have do have a higher risk of breast cancer. There are many benefits to being tested, however not every woman needs to be tested. If breast cancer runs in your family, consider if testing is right for you. To learn more, see Genetic Counseling and Testing for Breast Cancer Risk.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, it may be beneficial to start screening at an earlier age. Talk with your doctor to set up a screening process that is right or you.
Early menstrual periods before age 12 and starting menopause after age 55 expose women to hormones longer, raising their risk of getting breast cancer.
Women who have been treated with radiation for other medical reasons have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, especially if treatment was conducted to the chest or breasts.
Some women are afraid of the results of their mammogram. They're afraid of finding out they have breast cancer. The American Cancer Society states that "Death rates from breast cancer in the US have dropped 40% between 1989 and 2016. This translates to an estimated 348,800 breast cancer deaths averted during those 26 years. This decrease is attributed to increased awareness and improvements in screening, early detection, and treatment". This translates to "getting your mammogram could be the reason you live to a ripe old age." Choose to crush fear and embrace life.
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