Breast Cancer Prevention

Screening Guidelines

Screening Guidelines


Know your body and be alert to any breast cancer symptoms or changes. Report any lump, mass or breast change to your doctor. But don't wait until you have a symptom to be checked. Screening tests can help find breast cancer before any symptoms appear.2 Screening mammograms have increased the number of breast cancers found early.1 Here are some screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society®:


  • Get a mammogram. Women ages 45 to 54 should have a screening mammogram every year as long as they are in good health.1 If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, ask your doctor whether you should begin MRIs and mammograms earlier.1
  • Know breast cancer symptoms, and be aware of what your breasts normally look and feel like. The most common symptom is a new lump or mass.2 Other possible signs include breast swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, a nipple turned inward, redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, nipple discharge other than breast milk, or a swollen lymph node.2 Have a healthcare professional check any of these symptoms immediately, regardless of whether your most recent screening test was clear.
  • Get an MRI if you are at high risk. Women who have a 20% or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer should get magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a mammogram every year. Discuss with your healthcare provider the best age at which to begin screening.1 A yearly MRI is not recommended if your lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.1 To find out more about what makes a woman high risk, see the American Cancer Society document, Breast Cancer.1,3

For More Information:
1American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/MoreInformation/BreastCancerEarlyDetection/breast-cancer-early-detection-acs-recs
2Signs and symptoms of breast cancer, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/MoreInformation/BreastCancerEarlyDetection/breast-cancer-early-detection-signs-symptoms-br-ca
3What are the risk factors for breast cancer?, http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-risk-factors