Mammograms

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of your breasts. It's the most common imaging test. A mammogram can find cancer or other problems early, before a lump can be felt. It can also help diagnose other breast problems. A biopsy is needed to know for sure if you have cancer.

Health experts have different advice for when to get mammograms:

  • The USPSTF recommends screening every two years for women ages 50 to 74.
  • The ACS recommends yearly screening for all women ages 45 to 54. Women ages 55 and older should change to mammograms every two years. Or they may choose to still have a yearly screening.

The benefits and limits of a mammogram vary. Women should talk with their doctor about their personal risk factors before making a decision about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Both the National Cancer Institute and the ACS suggest that women who may be at greater risk for breast cancer should talk with their health care providers about whether to begin having mammograms at an earlier age. Depending on the level of risk, a breast MRI may also be done along with mammograms.

A mammogram detects tumors and calcium deposits in the breast. Most calcium deposits are not cancer. But a cluster of very tiny specks of calcium (microcalcifications) can be an early sign of breast cancer.

Although a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early, it may not always detect cancer. And in some cases, it may find an abnormality that turns out not to be cancer—what’s known as a false positive. Some people worry about the radiation exposure, but the levels are about the same as those you'd be exposed to during a flight from New York to California.

If your mammogram shows anything abnormal, you may need more tests. Our team can walk you through the entire process to ensure that you receive accurate and timely detection services.

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