Breast cancer occurs when cells that are not normal grow in one or both of your breasts. Screening tests can help find breast cancer early. Cancer is easier to treat when it's found early.
Having concerns about breast cancer is common. That's why it's important to talk with your doctor about when to start and how often to get screened for breast cancer.
Several screening tests can be used to check for breast cancer.
After the screening, your doctor will tell you the results. You will also be told if you need any follow-up tests.
Talk with your doctor about when you should start being tested for breast cancer. How often you get tested and the kind of tests you get will depend on your age and your risk.
The guidelines that follow are for women who have an average risk for breast cancer. If you have a higher risk for breast cancer, such as having a family history of breast cancer in multiple relatives or at a young age, your doctor may recommend different screening for you.
If you don't already know your risk of breast cancer, you can ask your doctor about it. You can also look it up at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/.
If your doctor says that you have a high or very high risk, ask about ways to reduce your risk. These could include getting extra screening, taking medicine, or having surgery. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, ask your doctor about genetic testing.
Some things that increase your risk of breast cancer, such as your age and being female, cannot be controlled. But you can do some things to stay as healthy as you can.
You can also do your best to eat well, be active, and stay at a healthy weight. Eating healthy foods and being active every day, as well as staying at a healthy weight, may help prevent cancer.
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Current as of: February 6, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Wendy Y. Chen, MD, MPH, MD, MPH - Medical Oncology, Hematology
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