Breast Screening Guidelines

Mammography

Annual mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early. Have a mammogram every year if you are age 40 or older. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, discuss a personal mammography screening schedule with your health care provider.

Clinical breast exam

Between ages 20 and 39, have a clinical breast exam conducted by your health care provider at least every 3 years. After age 40, have a clinical breast exam conducted by your health care provider every year.

Breast self-examination

Ask your health care provider to teach you the proper way to do a thorough breast self-exam. Beginning at age 20, examine your own breasts regularly so that you will notice any changes. If you find any lumps, thickenings or changes, tell your doctor right away.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant or potentially life-threatening tumor. Not all breast lumps or tumors are malignant. According to the National Women's Health Information Center, most lumps are benign or non-cancerous, although any unusual lump should always be examined by a doctor.

It's estimated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that one in eight women will developbreast cancer in their lifetime.