Breast and Mammograms

In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer by age 75 years. Regular breast screening can help find cancer at an early and more curable stage. Screening also can find problems in the breasts that are not cancer.  Mammography is the primary tool used to screen for breast cancer and other problems.

Breast and Mammograms

In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer by age 75 years. Regular breast screening can help find cancer at an early and more curable stage. Screening also can find problems in the breasts that are not cancer.  Mammography is the primary tool used to screen for breast cancer and other problems.

Reasons to do a Mammography

Mammography is done for two reasons: 

  1. As a screening test to check for breast cancer in women who do not have signs or symptoms of the disease.
  2. As a diagnostic test to check lumps or other symptoms that you have found yourself or that have been found by an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional.

The day of your test you should not wear powders, lotions, or deodorants. Most of these products have substances that can show on the X-ray. They can make your mammogram hard to interpret.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fibrous tissue and fat give breasts their shape. When breasts are dense, they have more fibrous tissue and less fat. Breast density is a normal and common finding on a mammogram, but breast density may make it harder for a radiologist to see cancer. If your report says you have dense breasts, we generally recommend you obtain 3-D mammograms in the future.

For women at average risk of breast cancer, screening mammography is recommended every 1–2 years beginning at age 40 years. If you have not started screening in your 40s, you should start having mammography no later than age 50 years. Screening should continue until at least age 75 years.

For women who are at average risk of breast cancer and who do not have symptoms, you should be seen in our office yearly for a clinical breast exams.

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