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Why is it necessary for me to have mammograms when there is no history of breast cancer in my family?
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), second to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. The chance of a woman getting breast cancer in her lifetime is less than one out of eight women.
Breast cancer affects women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and it can affect a person who doesn't have a family history of breast cancer. While having a family member with breast cancer increases a women's risk, it does not necessarily mean the person will get breast cancer. In fact, according to the ACS, 70 to 80 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.
Some additional risk factors include: being 55 and older, being Caucasian, having dense breast tissue, starting your menstrual cycle before the age of 12 and going through menopause after 55. Some lifestyle risks include smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, being overweight, not exercising and not having children or having children after the age of 30.
Early detection can save your life, and breast exams and mammograms can do just that. The ACS recommends women ages 20 and older perform monthly self-breast exams; women in their 20s and 30s have a breast exam by a physician at least once every three years and once a year for women ages 40 and older; and a mammogram every year for women ages 40 and older unless other recommended by their doctor.
The Women's Imaging Center provides mammography services in addition to invasive breast biopsies, ultrasound guided biopsies and stereotactic breast biopsies. To schedule a same or next day appointment, please call 480.728.PINK (7465).