BALTIMORE — Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, second only to skin cancer. Breast cancer typically has no symptoms when the tumor is small and most easily treated, which is why screening for early detection is so important.
The American Cancer Society offers the following recommendations to help guide conversations with your doctor about screening for breast cancer.
•Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
•Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
•Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.
•Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
•All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, andpotential harms linked to breast cancer screening.
Women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Even though the number of women who fit into this category is very small, some women— because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors— should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms, according to the American Cancer Society.
Providers at Ascension Saint Agnes recommend that you talk with a health care provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.