When do I Need to Begin Breast Exams?Routine breast cancer screening is an important part of women’s health, but at what age should this start and which kind of screening do you need?

A lot depends on your risk factors. Do you have a personal history of cancer or radiation treatments, or do you have parents or siblings who’ve had breast cancer? Have you tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 inherited gene mutations that are linked to breast cancer?

For most women with these high-risk factors, a clinical breast exam is recommended every 6 to 12 months and a mammogram every year beginning at age 30.  If you have an inherited gene mutation, annual clinical breast exams should begin at age 25. An annual breast MRI is recommended from age 25 to 30 and then an annual mammogram.

If you don’t have any of these risk factors, a clinical breast exam is recommended every one to three years from age 25 through 39. An annual clinical breast exam is recommended from age 40 until 75.

The mammography recommendations for women with an average risk of breast cancer can vary. Many health care organizations suggest that screening mammograms begin at age 40 because this can detect breast cancer early and provide a greater chance for a cure and reduce the risk of death from breast cancer.

Whether you need a screening mammogram every year is a decision you should make after consulting with your doctor. Discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of screening mammograms and decide together what is best.

Also, talk with your doctor about the role of monthly breast self-exams. These can help you become more familiar with your breasts, and make it easier for you to identify abnormalities or changes.

If you’re in Southgate or the Downriver Detroit area and need breast care or any other women’s health services, you can make an appointment online to see one of our providers.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax