The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about mammography and breast imaging:
- What’s the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?
A screening exam is done on a woman without any breast complaints; a diagnostic exam is done when the woman or her caregiver report a new finding.
- When should I start getting regular mammograms?
Most organizations recommend yearly screening mammograms for all average risk woman beginning at age 40.
- When should I stop getting mammograms?
With women living longer, there is no specific recommended age to stop getting mammograms. If you are in reasonably good health, you should continue getting yearly mammograms.
- If no one in my family has breast cancer, why do I need to get mammograms?
Up to 85 percent of breast cancers are random and occur in women with no family history of or specific risk factor for breast cancer.
- How often is breast cancer genetic?
Less than 15 percent of breast cancers have known genetic links and only about five percent have a detectable gene mutation such as the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutations.