When to get a mammogram
Different medical organisations have different opinions concerning when a woman should start getting screening mammograms. What is definitely agreed upon is that women between the ages of 50 and 69 need to get regular mammograms. The controversy concerns women who are younger or older than this age bracket.
For a woman of average risk, mammogram recommendations are as follows: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, The American College of Surgeons and the American College of Radiology advise women to start getting annual mammograms beginning at 40 years of age. On the other hand, The American Cancer society advises starting at 45 years, with the option to start between 40 and 44. The ACS recommends getting annual mammograms from 45 to 54 years of age, then after reaching 55 years: the woman should switch to getting one radiograph every two years, or stick with annual testing if she so desires. Emphasizing mammography’s superior capacity to detect breast cancer, the ACS makes no recommendation for the use of clinical examination to screen for breast cancer, and advises women to keep getting mammograms as long as they have good health and a life expectancy of ten or more years.
Meanwhile, The US Preventive Services Task Force, after combing through the results of eight randomised controlled trials, advocates for starting at 50 years and getting a mammogram every two years until 74 years of age, again with the option to start at 40 years if the patient thinks it best to do so. Most women in general begin at 40. Some authorities recommend that women with a first degree relative who had been diagnosed with breast cancer should start getting mammograms 10 years prior to the age at which the diagnosis of the relative was made. Talk to your physician to determine the most appropriate time to start getting mammograms, which depends on your particular family history and risk factors.