If I am at high risk for breast cancer, what imaging tests should I be having each year, starting a what age?
- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer (mother or sister premenopausal), start having your mammogram 10 years younger than the age that relative was diagnosed, OR at age 40, whichever is younger; but not before age 25. For example, if your sister had breast cancer when she was 44, you should start having your mammogram at age 34. If your mother had breast cancer at 60, you would start having your annual mammogram
A few days ago in the park I passed a woman who was sporting a full set of hair curlers and wearing a housecoat. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that, and it brought an image to my mind of my grandmother and her sisters in their rollers under headscarves in the 70’s, leaning from windows to hang laundry to dry on their retractable clotheslines in Jersey City. Fond memories of these ladies surfaced, and I thought about an essay I’d written in which they’d been featured; several of these great-aunts died prematurely from breast cancer, before adequate screening…Read More
For most women, age 40 should be when you start having yearly mammograms in order to minimize your likelihood of developing advanced breast cancer (“Government Mammography Task Force vs. You”). Some doctors send their patients for a baseline mammogram at age 35, and I wouldn’t argue with that.
If you have a strong family history of breast cancer (mother or sister), start having your mammogram 10 years younger than the age that relative was diagnosed, OR at age 40, whichever is younger. For example, if your sister had …Read More
If any of the following risk factors apply to you, you might be at high risk. Talk to your doctor:
- Do you have a family history of breast cancer (both your mother and your father’s sides count!)? The highest risk is if you have a mother, sister, daughter, father, brother or son with breast cancer. But other relatives– grandparents, aunts, cousins– are important to consider as well.
- Have you had breast cancer yourself in the past? If so, you have 10x the risk of the average woman for developing a new cancer.
- Do you have dense breasts? (“What