Mammography is a screening tool for breast cancer.

Mammography is important because in its earliest stages breast cancer may not be palpable; it may be too small to feel as a lump or tissue change. Mammography can help detect these changes two years or more before you would feel them. Physical examination is also important because pre-menopausal breast tissue is often dense and fibrous, which may decrease the reliability of mammography for young women.

Age Recommendations for Mammography for Women at Average Risk for Developing Breast Cancer
  • Over 50 years: All women over the age of 50 years should have annual mammography examinations.
  • 40-50 years: The Indian Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women in this age group. The National Cancer Institute recommends that these women get a mammogram every 1-2 years. Your physician should offer appropriate guidance on this issue according to your personal medical history.
  • Under 40 years: Most women under the age of 40 years do not need annual mammograms. However a baseline mammogram may be done at 35 years.
You may be at higher risk for breast cancer if:
  • You have already had breast cancer, especially before menopause.
  • You are genetically susceptible to cancer, i.e. you have close relatives with breast cancer.
  • You are undertaking hormone replacement therapy. Unmarried women and those without children are also at risk risk.