When am I supposed to get a mammogram? I’m confused!

There has been lots of conversation about when and how often women should have an annual mammogram. It’s confusing, even for women who are eager to protect their health. Here’s what we know for certain:

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Early detection can save your life: the five-year relative survival rate for patients who receive treatment for breast cancer in Stages 0 or 1 is 100%. This means that people with Stage 0 or 1 cancer have the same chance of living 5 years post-treatment as people who did not have cancer.

Here at EIRMC, we recommend following guidelines from the American College of Radiology. The ACR continues to recommend:

  • Women begin screening mammograms at age 40.
  • For women with an increased risk, begin screening at age 30.*
  • A screening mammogram every single year.

*women with certain BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations or who are untested but have first-degree relatives (mom, sister, or daughter) who are proved to have the BRCA mutations.

Last year, the American Cancer Society modified their recommendations to the following:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.