A mammogram, which is an X-ray of the chest, is used to detect cancer in hopes of catching it in the early stages when there are generally no signs or symptoms. An early diagnosis means early treatment, which can possibly stop the disease from spreading. Age 40 has long marked the year women should schedule their first annual mammogram.
Last October, however, the American Cancer Society released new guidelines for breast cancer screenings, recommending women start at age 45 (five years later) with the option to book it every other year beginning at age 55. This new rule does not apply to women who may have an inherent increased risk due to a family history of breast cancer or genetic mutation (such as BRCA). These women are advised to get both an MRI and mammogram every year. Women who prefer to start at age 40, as previous suggested, are still welcome to do so.
In this video interview, Sonima.com founder Sonia Jones discusses mammograms with Elisa Port, M.D., co-director of the Dubin Breast Center and chief of breast surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Port recently wrote the book, The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to Navigate Your Diagnosis and Treatment Options-and Remain Optimistic-in an Age of Information Overload, which came out last fall, to help streamline information for women seeking prevention and treatment advice. Here, Port explains who is at risk of developing breast cancer and how mammograms, and other tests, can help improve your odds of survival with early detection.
By Sonia Jones