Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 1/3 since 1990.
The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69.
1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49.
Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40% are for women in their 40s.
3/4 of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
Even for women 50+, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30% of cancers.
Straight Talk with Stacey Keen
In our Straight Talk podcasts, leading breast cancer professionals explain why you need to start annual mammograms at age 40.
Just the Facts
For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram:
- 100 are recalled to get more mammography or ultrasound images
- 20 are recommended for a needle biopsy
- 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer
What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a specific type of breast exam used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. This quick medical exam uses a noninvasive X-ray targeted to each breast, producing pictures that your doctor can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas, possibly indicating the presence of cancer.
Why Are Mammograms Important?
Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.
To learn more about how to prepare for a mammogram, what to expect during the exam, how to obtain your results, as well as the benefits, risks, and limitations, visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), American College of Radiology (ACR), and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) provide the most widely accepted breast cancer screening guidelines proven to save lives. We have included other guidelines on this site for informational purposes. We strongly recommend following the ACS, ACR, and SBI guidelines to reduce your chances of dying from breast cancer.
View our Mammography Guidelines