A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of your breasts. It's the most common imaging test. A mammogram can find cancer or other problems early, before a lump can be felt. It can also help diagnose other breast problems. But a biopsy is needed to know for sure if you have cancer.
Health experts have different recommendations for mammograms:
The USPSTF recommends screening every 2 years for women ages 50 to 74.
The ACS recommends yearly screening for all women ages 45 to 54. Women ages 55 and older should change to mammograms every 2 years. Or they may choose to still have a yearly screening.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your own personal risk factors. This will help you decide when to start getting mammograms and how often to have them.
A diagnostic mammogram may be needed when an abnormal area is found during a screening mammogram.
Both the National Cancer Institute and the ACS suggest that women who may be at greater risk for breast cancer should talk with their healthcare providers about whether to begin having mammograms at an earlier age. Depending on the level of risk, a breast MRI may also be done along with mammograms.