Saving a breast, or both – and a life – from cancer is far more likely if women undergo annual mammography screenings after age 40. Early detection of breast cancer increases the five-year post-detection survival rate to 90 percent – strong odds against the number-one cause of cancer death in women. Unfortunately, far fewer women in Berkshire County are choosing to get early screenings than a decade ago – only 77 percent in 2010 versus 90 percent in 2002. Women can’t count on lack of family history to protect them. Seventy-five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors.
General Breast Screening Recommendations
- For the general population, a baseline mammogram is recommended between the age of 35 and 40 years and annually thereafter.
- If there is a maternal history of breast cancer, screening for daughters should begin 10 years before the age at which the mother was diagnosed. For example, if mother was diagnosed at age 40, then screening should begin at age 30 for daughters.
- If there is a history of lymphoma with mantle radiation, the risk of breast cancer increases and therefore these patients should start mammographic screening earlier.
- Annual screening mammography is recommended 8 years following completion of chest irradiation but not before the age of 25