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