Question: Hi Dr. Deb. I’m 25 with no history of breast cancer in my family. When do I need to start getting a mammogram?
Answer: Relax. Since you are only 25, you don’t need to worry about a mammogram yet. The American Cancer Society currently recommends an annual mammogram starting at age 40 for those of us with no risk factors.
A mammogram is not a scary test but can be a little bit uncomfortable because the breast tissue is squeezed between two plastic plates so x-rays can be taken of as much of the breast tissue as possible. The test usually takes less than ten minutes from start to finish. If you have a strong history in your family of breast cancer, mammogram may be recommended before age 40, but more likely if you have a lot of breast cancer in your family, an MRI of your breasts will be recommended. This test shows very subtle breast abnormalities much sooner than mammogram but is not yet the recommended test for those of us with average breast cancer risk.
Remember, an important part of breast cancer screening is also an annual breast exam with your health care provider.
Starting annual breast exams with your physician at age 35 to 40 is a very good idea.
Breast self- exam is no longer recommended as strongly as it previously was, but is also a good idea. Yours in health and in Him, Dr. Deb