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When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?

breast cancer

If you feel confused about when you should get a mammogram, join the club. With differing recommendations depending on which organization you ask, it's no wonder many women are left wondering what they should do. A good medical professional can help cut through the conflicting advice and figure out what's right for you.

In addition to our mammogram services, our medical providers here at The Women's Center offer everything from obstetric and gynecologic care to birth control and cancer treatment. We perform many procedures and minimally invasive surgeries on site at our eight state-of-the-art facilities in Orlando, St. Cloud, Altamonte Springs, Oviedo, Ocoee, and Celebration, Florida. We emphasize good communication and share lots of information so patients can make informed decisions about what’s right for them.

The importance of mammograms

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer (after skin cancer) with the second highest death rate (besides lung cancer). Fortunately, there is some good news: Mammograms have played an important role in reducing breast cancer mortality by almost 40% in the United States since 1990.

Essentially an X-ray of the breast, a mammogram can help in the early detection of breast cancer. It can be so effective that in some women it’s been known to catch a tumor up to three years before it could be felt during a breast exam. Catching the cancer early is important, as it lessens the likelihood of it spreading.

When you need a mammogram

There has been some disagreement among medical organizations and experts about the best age for women to begin having mammograms. The American Cancer Society's latest guidelines say all women should begin having mammograms every year by age 45. At age 55 and beyond, it’s good to get one every other year or keep with the annual schedule.

The ACS also recommends that women ages 40-44 should be able to choose to have a yearly mammogram if they want to. Women should continue to get mammograms as long as they’re in good health and expect to live at least another 10 years or more.

While guidelines are typically well-researched and regularly updated, they are no substitute for a personalized discussion with your medical provider here at The Women’s Center. Only your doctor knows your particular situation, including if there is a family history of breast cancer or other factors to consider that could indicate screening should start at an earlier age.

Mammograms are quick, noninvasive, and require no recovery. You can have the screening, get dressed, and continue on with your day.

Whether you have a family history of breast cancer or just want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're doing everything you can to be proactive about your health, getting a mammogram is important. Call or click to book an appointment with one of our doctors at The Women's Center today.

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