Mammograms After Age 50 May Be Too Late According to New Breast Cancer Research

mammogramJust because Breast Cancer Awareness month isn't until October doesn't mean you have to wait to get educated about when and how often you should go in for a mammogram. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women should start getting regular mammograms every two years once they reach 50; however, new research makes us wonder if 50 is too late for mammograms. A new study in the journal Cancer reveals that 50 percent of breast cancer deaths occur in women under 50, and get this: 71 percent of them are among women who haven't had regular mammograms. 

So what's this mean for the rest of us? Well, getting regular mammograms is more important than ever for sure. The big question, though, is WHEN is the right age to start?

Let's look at some facts:

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Logically, it would make sense that if more than half of the women involved in the recent study died before the age of 50, then getting tested before then would be a good idea. The issue with that? Well, earlier testing has its risks since false positives are much more common in younger women.

So what should you do? Well, it depends on your family history. If you have a first-degree relative with breast cancer, then the American College of Radiology suggests you begin getting mammograms 10 years before the age of that relative's diagnosis, or between the ages of 25 and 30. Otherwise, the American Cancer Society recommends women start getting annual screenings at 40

The choice is up to you. However, at the very least get educated on ways to prevent breast cancer and ways to make mammograms more bearable.

When did you get your first mammogram? Do you have any advice for other women?

 

Image via themozhi's pixel displays/Flickr

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