Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer. If found early there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival.
Breast cancer screening includes mammograms, clinical breast exams, and in some cases, breast MRIs. American Cancer Society Screening Guidelines include:
Yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing as long as a woman is in good health.
Clinical breast exam about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and older.
Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.
Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.
This includes women who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (such as the Claus model - see below).
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves.
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years.
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes.