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At what age should a woman start having mammography screenings?

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women, and early detection is key to improving survival rates. Mammography is one of the most effective ways to detect breast cancer at an early stage, and it is recommended that women undergo regular mammography screenings. But at what age should a woman start having mammography screenings?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women at average risk of breast cancer should begin having mammography screenings at age 45 and continue every year until age 54. After age 54, women should continue having mammography screenings every two years, or they may choose to continue with yearly screenings. Women at high risk of breast cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease, may need to start mammography screenings earlier and more frequently.

Here are some key considerations for mammography screening:

  1. Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age, which is why mammography screenings are typically recommended for women over the age of 45. However, women in their 40s may also benefit from mammography screenings, particularly if they have other risk factors for breast cancer.

  2. Family history: Women with a family history of breast cancer may need to start mammography screenings earlier and more frequently than those without a family history.

  3. Breast density: Women with dense breast tissue may also benefit from earlier and more frequent mammography screenings, as dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer.

  4. Personal history: Women who have previously had breast cancer or certain other types of breast abnormalities may need to start mammography screenings earlier and more frequently.

It's important to note that mammography is not a perfect screening tool, and false positives and false negatives are possible. Women should talk to their healthcare provider about their individual risk factors for breast cancer and when to start mammography screenings. Additionally, women should perform regular breast self-exams and report any breast changes or abnormalities to their healthcare provider.

In conclusion, the ACS recommends that women at average risk of breast cancer should begin having mammography screenings at age 45 and continue every year until age 54, after which they may choose to continue with yearly screenings or switch to every two years. Women at high risk of breast cancer may need to start mammography screenings earlier and more frequently. Women should talk to their healthcare provider about their individual risk factors for breast cancer and when to start mammography screenings.


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