Early Detection of Breast Cancer—The Importance of Mammography

Breast cancer remains one of the most common types of cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. However, death rates from breast cancer have declined since the late 1980s, largely due to improvements in diagnostic technology, earlier detection rates, increased education and awareness, and improved treatment options.

For all women, the most important step to take is education about breast cancer facts, personal risks, and breast self-awareness. All women should learn what feels normal at each stage in life when it comes to breast health.

Guidelines for mammography

  • New recommendations suggest women with an average risk of breast cancer begin yearly mammograms at age 45
  • Women should have the option to start screening as early as age 40, if they choose, but it’s important to speak to your doctor first
  • Women who are 55 and older can receive a mammogram every other year
  • Women with family history of breast cancer should begin screening earlier

Breast self-awareness

  • Knowing your personal risk of breast cancer and family history of breast cancer
  • Recognizing what feels normal for you
  • Speaking with your doctor about your health and risk factors