One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her life, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. The good news is mammograms can catch breast cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Women 40 or older should ask their personal doctor about when to begin routine mammograms. Your doctor will help you decide what schedule makes the most sense for you, based on your health and family history.
Most cases of breast cancer are found in women 50 or older. However, this doesn’t mean that women under the age of 50 are in the clear. Approximately 11 percent of new cases of breast cancer are found in women younger than 45.
Breast cancer risk factors
A number of factors can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer in women under the age of 40. Most doctors will recommend early routine mammograms if you have one or more of these risk factors.
- Close relatives that have been diagnosed with breast cancer, especially at age 45 or younger.
- Radiation therapy on the chest area earlier in life.
- Previously had breast cancer or breast health issues.
Early treatment is the best defense with the best outcomes.
Thanks, in part, to preventive screenings, there are currently more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
There is one easy thing to remember – keep up with your preventive screenings. The average mammogram appointment is just 15 minutes long. Your personal doctor can help you choose a facility that’s convenient for you.
It’s normal to feel scared before any medical procedure, but there’s nothing to worry about. You may feel a little pressure, which only lasts a few seconds. You are only exposed to a small amount of radiation and studies show the benefits outweigh any risks.
So what are you waiting for? Schedule your appointment for a mammogram today.