Regular Mammograms May Be the Key to Your Breast Health

Detecting breast cancer early is the key to fighting it head on. The best approach is a combination of regular breast exams and mammography. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you based on your personal and family health history.

What Are Mammograms?

Mammograms are a series of X-rays that show images of the soft tissue of your breast. Along with breast self-exams and clinical breast exams, mammograms are important screenings to help detect breast cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat. 

3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, is another type of mammogram that works similar to a CT scan, offering a more comprehensive view of the breast tissue. Many Banner Health facilities offer 3D mammography.   

You might have a mammogram for a couple of reasons:

  • Screening mammogram – a routine screening when you don’t have any signs of problems; these are important for early detection before you have symptoms
  • Diagnostic mammogram – a screening to rule out or diagnose breast cancer or another condition, such as a noncancerous lump, if you have symptoms

How Often Do I Need a Mammogram?

The screening recommendations below apply to most women.

Age 25 to 39

  • Clinical breast exam every one to three years (A health care provider checks for lumps or other changes.)

Age 40 and older

  • Clinical breast exam every year
  • Mammogram every year 

Your doctor may recommend different screening guidelines depending on your personal risk factors. Women at high risk of breast cancer may get a breast MRI each year in addition to a mammogram.

Do Mammograms Hurt?

Not too much. Mammograms are more comfortable now thanks to changes in technology and design. Mammograms are generally quick and relatively painless.

Learn how to prepare for your appointment

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