How Often Are Mammograms Needed?

The topic of when or if to get a mammogram is controversial and seems to change often.

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Some medical organizations differ on their recommendations for women between ages 40 and 49.

Those supporting yearly mammograms for this age group quote studies showing that a breast cancer can be seen on mammogram 19 months before it can be felt on exam; thus making yearly mammograms prudent.

Organizations supporting every other year mammograms in this age group are concerned with the false positive reports that lead to a large number of benign biopsies.

Controversy aside, the following screening methods are supported by scientific studies and consensus of expert opinions:

  • Mammograms every 1 to 2 years for women aged 40 to 49
  • Mammograms every year after 50 years of age
  • Monthly self-breast exam are recommended to all women
  • All women should have a clinical breast exam as part of their annual physical

Additional Information

For additional information on mammograms or breast cancer screening see: or the American Cancer Society –