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Many women have been told that they don’t need to get screened for breast cancer until they are around 45 years old. However, receiving an early screening – around age 35 – is a hugely beneficial idea and should be considered, especially if your doctor advises it.

An early screening could help detect abnormal cells in the breast before they become dangerous. If the images come back showing only healthy cells, then the mammogram can be compared to future screenings which can be helpful in detecting abnormalities.

What is a mammogram?

Mammograms are tests that are used to detect and diagnose breast disease. It is a type of x-ray that a doctor can use to locate any areas that seem abnormal and may indicate cancerous cells. A mammogram should be done annually to ensure that any changes or abnormalities that develop over time do not go undetected.

Why should I get a mammogram?

Receiving regular mammogram screenings after a certain age is the best way to identify breast cancer or another disease before it spreads and becomes worse. There are a few factors that you should take into consideration your risk of developing breast cancer.

Family history – Do your research. Know whether the other women in your family have experienced breast cancer. Studies show that those who have a family history of breast cancer are more likely to develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Your family’s history is something you should share with your doctor so that she can provide recommendations about how you can prevent and detect cancer early.

Age – The most common ages for a woman to develop breast cancer is between 40 and 49. This means that you should be extra diligent about getting screened during these years. However, women can develop breast cancer earlier or later, so it is important not to neglect being screened even if you are younger or older.

Regularity of screenings – Regular screenings have reduced breast cancer-related deaths by approximately 40%. This is not something that should be put off or neglected – it could save your life. Studies show that skipping a mammogram every other year will greatly increase your risk of undetected breast cancer.

You should also talk to the other women in your life about receiving life-saving screenings. Do your research, and share what you know to those close to you. Raising awareness is key in ensuring that all women receive the care that they need.

Breast cancer is extremely treatable if caught before it becomes invasive. A mammogram is the best way to catch cancer in its earliest stages and treat it immediately.

Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have a mammogram. Also feel free to ask any questions you may have about prevention, family history, or other risk factors. The Women’s Center at Crisp Regional is here to support you and offer you the best care.