is the latest on how often to have screening mammograms?
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women in their 40s and
older have a screening mammogram (a breast x-ray in
women with no signs of breast cancer) every one to two
Women with higher-than-average risk of breast cancer should talk with
their health care providers about when to begin
mammograms and how often to have them. Factors that may
increase a woman's risk of breast cancer include:
- Age: A woman is more likely to develop breast cancer as she gets older.
- Personal history of breast cancer: A woman who has had breast cancer is at higher risk for developing the disease again.
- Family history of breast cancer: The risk rises for women with a mother, sister, or daughter who has had the disease.
- History of certain non-cancerous breast conditions: These conditions include atypical hyperplasia (breast cells that have abnormal features and are increased in number) and lobular carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells in the small lobes of the breast).
- Genes: Alterations (changes from the norm) in certain genes increase risk.
- Exposure to hormones: Breast cancer risk is higher for women who began having periods at age 11 or younger, gave birth to a first child at a late age, and/or went through menopause at age 55 or older. Breast cancer risk also is higher for women who use a combination estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy for more than five years.
- Breast density: Breast cancer nearly always develops in the dense tissue of the breast rather than the fatty tissue. For this reason, older women with mostly dense breasts are at higher risk. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Source: "Ask the CIS" by the Cancer Information
Service. "Ask the CIS" is distributed by the Cancer
Information Service (CIS) of the Heartland, which
serves Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri & Illinois. The
CIS is a program of the National Cancer Institute.
Call the CIS toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER
(1-800-422-6237) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. local
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Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008