High Risk Mammogram

Know the Basics

Mammography is currently the best screening examination for breast cancer. Mammography uses computers and specially designed digital detectors to produce detailed X-ray images of breast tissue. The key role of mammography is in identifying breast cancer early in its development when it is still very small, often a year or two before it is large enough to be felt as a lump.

Small cancers often require less aggressive treatment and have a much better response. Mammography detects approximately 2-3 times as many of these early breast cancers as physical examination.

Dig a Little Deeper

While mammography often detects breast cancer in its earliest stages, approximately 10% of palpable breast lumps that may be cancerous are not detected on mammography. In these cases, annual breast examination by your doctor or healthcare provider and monthly breast self-examination are critical for early detection. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology have developed guidelines shown in the table below. Over 90% of breast cancers can be detected when all three methods are used together in a planned program.

Age Breast Self-Exam Mammography Physical Exam
20-40 Once a month, 7-10 days after onset of menstruation Initial mammogram at age 40 At least every 3 years
40+ Every year Every year


High-Risk Screening Guidelines

  • If tested positive for BRCA gene start at 25
  • Untested relative of someone with BRCA gene start at 25
  • 1st degree relative with breast cancer
    • 10 years earlier than the age of the affected relative at diagnosis but not before 25
    • Example: If 1st degree relative was 43 start at 33
  • Have had radiation therapy to chest  between the ages 10-30
    • Commence screening  8 years after radiotherapy but not before age 25

Important Information Regarding Mammogram Screening Guidelines

Radiology Ltd. believes women should get mammograms every year, starting at age 40. That is the position of the American Cancer Society, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, the American College Of Surgeons and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Our standards and the standards of those just mentioned are not shared with federal government guidelines.

Next Steps

Radiology Ltd.

Click below or call 520.733.7226 to request more information or schedule your screening with Radiology Ltd.

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