Breast health and screenings for women can be a confusing and worrisome health journey. There are over 7 different health agencies offering guidance regarding breast cancer screening. This can leave many confused on when to start breast screening with a mammogram. Breast screenings are a crucial part of preventive care due to how common breast cancer is among women. Avance Care is speaking with a primary care provider to simplify what you need to know about breast cancer screenings.
Today, Schquthia Peacock, FNP, with Avance Care Preston is sharing her answers on the top four questions about breast cancer screenings:
Schquthia Peacock Answers Your Top 4 Questions on Breast Cancer Screenings
When should I start getting breast cancer screenings?
The conversation about breast health starts during the teen years during annual well child checks in young ladies. I introduce self-breast exam education during an open conversation around health maintenance. Click here for directions on performing a self-breast exam.
By the age of 21, I introduce clinical breast exam and demonstrate self-breast exams during annual physical exams. Counseling around mammogram guidelines and breast cancer typically starts by age 40 and continues annually.
At the age of 75, we revisit the need for regular mammogram screenings going over patient desires and goals. Many decide to continue screenings annually or biannually. Some choose to stop annual screenings. The guidelines support both decision pathways. We support our patients’ choices through shared decision making.
At Avance Care Preston, we recommend women with an average risk of breast cancer start screening with mammograms annually with the guidance of your primary care provider between the ages of 40-45. However, it is commonly recommended to start annual mammogram screenings at the age of 40. Those at high risk for breast cancer should discuss any risk factors with their primary care provider to determine when routine screening mammograms should start. Typically, those with high risk for breast cancer start screenings sooner.
Collecting a thorough personal and family history will allow your primary care provider to assess your breast cancer risk and make recommendations for breast cancer screenings. Schedule a complete physical exam for a review of your health history identifying any breast cancer risk factors. Your Avance Care primary care provider will guide you to a convenient radiology facility for your screening mammogram. Any necessary paperwork can be processed at that time.
Who should I go to to get my breast cancer screening?
Breast cancer screenings should start monthly at home with self-breast exam and annually at your Avance Care primary care provider with a clinical breast exam. Schedule a complete physical exam for a review of your health history to go over any breast cancer risk factors. Your Avance Care primary care provider will guide you to a radiology facility convenient for you for your screening mammogram. Any necessary paperwork can be processed at that time.
How often should I get a breast cancer screening?
Screening mammograms should start annually between the ages of 40 and 45 after a discussion about your breast cancer risks. Mammograms continue annually until at least the age of 75. Each screening up the 75 and after should be based on shared decision making between the patient and their primary care provider.
Why should I get a breast cancer screening?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the US. Breast cancer is the second cause of death in women in America, second only to heart disease. Routine breast cancer screenings, like mammograms, are key to early diagnosis and detection of breast cancer. Early diagnosis leads to fewer breast cancer related deaths and less invasive treatment measures. Early diagnosis also reduces health care cost.
A few things to consider about breast cancer screenings. Wait 4-6 weeks after your covid vaccine before having your mammogram. Plan self-breast exam or mammogram 7-14 days from the end of your menstrual cycle.