If you’re heading towards the big 4-0, you probably are wondering if it’s the right time to get a mammogram, but new recommendations say otherwise. For many years, 40 was the standard age suggested by the American Cancer Society to start preventative scanning. However, recently the ACS and the American College of Physicians have said that 40 is not a hard and fast rule for all women. In fact, they say that age 50 is the new 40 when it comes to screening mammograms. It is important to remember that these recommendations do not apply to all women, and Dr. Alqulali encourages patients to talk to their doctors about both their family health and personal health history to determine if they need earlier screenings.
So, do you know when you should go? Here are some recommendations from Infinity Medical Group
Immediately if you’ve found a lump. If you’ve found a lump at any age or are having other symptoms like swelling in the breast, skin irritation or scaling, dimpling, pain in the breast or nipple pain. Other things you should be concerned with are thickening of the nipple, nipples that begin retracting or turning inward or nipple discharge.
Between 25-30 if you carry the BRCA gene. The BRCA gene is a genetic mutation that increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Many women with the BRCA gene get screened as soon as possible as a preventative measure.
Between the ages of 40 and 50 if You have a family history. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you should talk to your physician about the appropriate time to get screened. Close family members, like mothers, grandmothers, and sisters should be included when discussing your health with your doctor.
Other factors that may lead to your doctor suggesting that you schedule a screening mammogram include lifestyle or behavioral factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet. Women who are overweight or obese, or have dense breasts are also encouraged to discuss early screening with their doctors.
Women should also routinely perform breast self-examinations in order to locate lumps or any other changes in their breasts.
If you have questions about mammogram screenings and when it’s right for you, call Dr. Alqulali today at 1.888.716.0559.