How important is it to get a mammogram?

Extremely. Women with an average risk for breast cancer receive screening mammography. Screenings are important because they can detect a disease in people who do not have any symptoms (for example, a lump in your breast). Regular screenings lead to early detection, which means a disease is found and diagnosed earlier than if you had waited for symptoms to arise. Early detection improves the chances of a successful treatment.

What age should I get my first mammogram?

According to the American Cancer Society, women with an average risk for breast cancer should get their first mammogram at 40. Women ages 45-54 should get a mammogram every year. At 55, women can choose to continue receiving mammograms yearly or switch to every 2 years.

Women with a history of breast cancer, personal or family, a genetic mutation known to increase the risk for breast cancer, or have had radiation therapy to their chest before 30 years old, have a higher than average risk for breast cancer.

You can use the breast cancer risk assessment tool (on resources page) but you should also talk to your doctor if you think you may be at a higher than average risk.

Should I request Breast Tomosynthesis over a mammogram?

Breast tomosynthesis may be beneficial to you if you have been informed that you have dense breast or if you have a history of breast cancer, personal or family. Tomosynthesis gives our breast radiologists a 3D view of the breast compared to the traditional 2D. This works by capturing slices of the breast image in many different angles and between layers. Talk to your doctor if Breast Tomosynthesis is something you are interested in. Check out our Breast Tomosynthesisbreast tomosynthesis page for more information.