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Top 3 Things You Should Know About Mammogram Screening: Age to Start & More

Mammogram screening is an imaging procedure performed on women to ensure that the breasts are healthy and that no growth or abnormalities are present. It is an effective and valuable tool for the early detection of breast cancer in women.

If you have never undergone breast imaging examination before, or you’re still undecided about whether or not to have the screening, here are a few things that could help you finally decide to not only have your first screening but more importantly, to make it a yearly routine.

1. Start at 40.

The recommended age to start mammogram screening is 40. While the medical field is still debating about the actual age when a woman should undergo screening annually, the general consensus is to have it yearly once you reach the age of 40. If nothing else, you will have a point of comparison for future screenings.

2. Know whether you need screening vs. diagnostic mammogram.

There is a difference between a mammogram screening and a diagnostic mammogram. In brief, screening is part of a routine check-up to see if the tissue has changed or if any abnormal areas are detected. Diagnostic mammography is ordered to investigate a specific problem or area—for example, to look more closely at an area flagged on a screening mammogram, investigate a lump felt by a doctor or patient, or to look into an area that is causing pain.

3. It’s safe.

Radiation from the mammogram procedure is safe. One of the most common factors that make women hesitant about undergoing a yearly mammogram screening is exposure to radiation. The level of exposure in mammography is equivalent to radiation levels on an international flight. Also, radiation exposure in mammography is lower compared to a CT scan. It is estimated that you would need at least 100 mammogram screenings to have a level of exposure that is equivalent to one CT scan.

When done regularly (once a year starting at 40 years old as recommended), mammography can catch breast cancer in its early stages, thereby allowing for timely and immediate treatment before the cancer cells start reproducing or spreading to other parts of the body. If your mammogram spots an irregularity, we offer help understanding what to do after an irregular mammogram as well as further screening tests and treatment options.

Schedule Your Mammogram

Not sure where to go for your mammogram? Read our related blog post to learn 3 reasons you should consider Bedford Breast Center in Beverly Hills, CA, for your mammogram. To schedule a screening with us, give us a call at (310) 278-8590 or contact us online.