How often should women be screened for breast cancer?
10/13/2016 4:12 PM
In the United States, it is recommended that women start their quest for breast cancer screenings at age 20. That means that once a year, they see a medical provider and have what is called a clinical breast exam. Women also need to start doing their own monthly self-breast exams at age 20.
Something patients should consider when doing their routine self-breast exams is that, in addition to examining the breasts, it is very important to palpate and feel up the color bone, around the neck, below the collar bone and under the arms. These areas are where the lymph nodes reside. Many patients notice an enlarged lymph node as their first sign of breast cancer, even if they don’t find a breast mass.
At age 40, it’s important to start getting yearly mammograms. Some people fear mammograms increase their risk for developing breast cancer. Looking at huge data sets where millions of mammogram patients are evaluated, I believe the radiation exposure is so small that it does not increase the breast cancer risk.
Click here to request a mammogram appointment.
About the Author
Charles Mathis, MD, is a General Surgeon at the Live Oak Health Partners Specialty Care clinic in San Marcos, Texas.