When Should I Get a Breast Cancer Screening?

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Breast cancer screenings are vital to detecting cancer early when it’s most easily treatable. Mammography is the best tool available for reliable, non-invasive breast cancer screening. It’s up to you and your doctor to take your personal health history into consideration to decide when it’s right for you to begin starting regular breast cancer screenings.

What is a Breast Cancer Screening?

A breast cancer screening is a test designed to examine breast tissue for cancerous growths before there are outward signs or symptoms of the disease. You and your doctor should talk about the different kinds of breast cancer screening tests available and discuss your personal risk factors for the disease to help decide the right screening schedule for you.

What Are the Different Kinds of Breast Cancer Screenings?

The following breast cancer screenings can be used alone or in conjunction with one another to detect breast tissue abnormalities. Including:


A mammogram is an x-ray of breast tissue. This is the single most effective test for detecting breast cancer early before a woman shows any signs of the disease.

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

An MRI uses magnets and radio waves to capture pictures of breast tissue. An MRI is usually used as a diagnostic follow-up to an abnormal mammogram and is not part of regular screenings for women of average risk of breast cancer.

Clinical Breast Exams

This is a manual test performed by a doctor to look and feel for breast abnormalities.

Breast Self-Exams

During this test, you examine your own breasts by looking and touching to check for abnormalities. You should report any breast changes to your doctor immediately and schedule an exam.

What Are the Recommended Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screenings?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for breast cancer screenings:

  • Age 40-44: Start mammogram screenings if you and your doctor agree that the benefits outweigh the risks
  • Age 45-54: Get an annual mammogram
  • Age 55 & older: Get a mammogram at least every two years or every year if you want to

Women should continue to have mammograms as long as they are in good health. While some organizations recommend women wait until age 50 to begin yearly mammograms, most agree that women with a family history of breast cancer or those with certain genetic markers should start getting regular mammograms at age 40.

Where Can I Get a Mammogram on Long Island?

PURE Mammography is Long Island’s premier mammography center. Located inside Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, our state-of-the-art facility offers the latest in 3D mammography services in a spa-like setting. Our caring staff and board-certified radiologists are dedicated to putting your comfort and health first. We make it easy to get a mammogram at PURE. No appointment is ever necessary and we have extended weekday and weekend hours to accommodate every schedule. Contact us today to learn more.

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