Early detection and treatment are the keys to surviving breast cancer, one of the most common cancer diagnoses in women across the United States.
Fortunately, thanks to awareness campaigns and aggressive guidelines set by groups including the American Cancer Society, more people are aware of the importance of breast cancer screenings than ever before.
Regular screening should begin no later than age 45 in women of average risk but should start earlier if your doctor detects elevated risk. Some physicians who specialize in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment recommend annual mammography beginning at age 40 in women of average risk. After your first breast cancer screening, you should receive them annually until age 55 when you can start receiving them every other year. Your primary care physician will help you analyze your family history and gauge your risk.
For most, these screenings will be in the form of mammograms, a noninvasive X-ray technique that is considered the gold standard in breast imaging.