When to Start Scheduling Your Screenings

Child kissing womanAugust 10, 2022

Breast cancer may be scary to think about, but early detection is the best defense available — and it could save your life. TexomaCare Obstetrician/Gynecologist Arame Thiam-Diouf, MD, breaks down the ages at which women should begin scheduling their annual mammograms. “For women of average risk,” she explains, “an annual screening mammography should start at age 40.”

Women with certain medical conditions or a family history of breast cancer should start screening mammography before 40. “When a woman’s BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, the genes most affected in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, are mutated, she should begin screenings by age 30,” says Dr. Thiam-Diouf.

“For women whose mother or sister has pre-menopausal breast cancer, it is recommended they also start screening mammograms at age 30, but not before age 25,” explains Dr. Thiam-Diouf, “or 10 years earlier than the age at which their relative was diagnosed, whichever is later. We recommend that women with greater than or equal to a 20% lifetime risk for breast cancer, based on family history, start yearly screenings at age 30 or 10 years earlier than the age of their youngest affected relative.

“If she received mantle radiation between the ages of 10 and 30, screenings should begin 8 years after the radiation therapy,” says Dr. Thiam-Diouf. “Women diagnosed with biopsy-proven lobular neoplasia, ADH, DCIS or ovarian cancer should start screens regardless of age.”

Dr. Thiam-Diouf follows the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s recommendations for screening mammograms. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you should consult your doctor to determine the best screening procedures for you.

Why 3D Mammography?

3D mammography produces sharper, more detailed images than film mammography, which allows radiologists to detect micro-calcifications that may be missed by traditional methods.

The images can be viewed immediately. TMC Breast Care Center, located at 5004 Pool Road in Denison, and the Outpatient Imaging Center at ER at Anna, located at 2710 Hackberry Drive in Anna, both offer 3D digital mammography.