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Mamogram Appt 200 x 200

A breast exam is part of your annual women’s health checkup, but when should you begin breast cancer screening with a mammogram? It’s a question that has split government health officials, healthcare providers and cancer experts.

For women with an average risk of breast cancer, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force guidelines recommend that breast cancer screening begin at age 50 and continue at two-year intervals. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends offering annual screening starting at age 40 but not later than 50. The American Cancer Society says yearly mammograms should be an option for women ages 40 to 44 and are recommended beginning at age 45.

Breast cancer is the number-one cause of death in women aged 35 to 54 years and mammography has been proven to reduce deaths due to breast cancer in women screened beginning at age 40. You should talk with your doctor about your risk factors before deciding when to begin with annual mammograms.

One thing every woman should do at any age is a monthly breast self-exam. It takes less than 15 minutes and there are several methods recommended by the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

In the shower, use the pads of your fingers and move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot.

In front of a mirror, visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match. Few women's breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

While lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.

If you find a lump, request an appointment with us, but don't panic, as statistics show that 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.

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