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When should I be screened for breast cancer?

Whatever your age, you should know what is normal for your breasts and tell your doctor if you notice any changes. Once you reach a certain age, you can also go for screening mammography, a low-dose x-ray. Mammography is the most reliable method of finding breast cancer.

Our recommendation

If you are 40 to 49

Talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer, along with the benefits and risks of mammography.

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If you are 50 to 69

Have a mammogram every 2 years.

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If you are 70 or older

Talk to your doctor about how often you should have a mammogram.

Research has shown that women who have mammograms regularly are less likely to have a false positive (when the test results suggest you have cancer but you don’t). We also know that if you do have cancer, it is more likely to be detected when you have mammograms regularly.

Your doctor may also do a physical exam of your breasts (called a clinical breast examination) to check for signs of cancer.

Women at high risk for breast cancer may need to be tested more often and at an earlier age than women with average risk. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

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