When should you schedule your 1st Mammogram? 🤨
Mammograms are very important to detect early breast cancer, which is what makes getting one so important.
So, when should you get your first mammogram? Ideally, you should start yours at age 40. However, if you are currently age 50 or older, you should schedule a self-service mammogram at the first hint of a breast problem. This can help in early detection, especially for women who may be at high risk for developing breast cancer. Some of the symptoms that indicate the onset of a cancer in this age group include:
- Any change in the shape or size of the breast or any pain, heaviness or tenderness in the breasts.
- A sensation that the skin around the nipple changes in texture.
- There is any tenderness or swelling in the area around the nipple and areola.
Some health professionals recommend that you schedule at least one mammogram during your annual examination. Depending on the age of the woman, you may also want to schedule a follow-up exam with your doctor once a year or as often as needed.
Ideally, you should schedule an exam at least every year after you started feeling the first symptoms of breast pain, although some health professionals believe that the optimal interval between mammograms is every three years.
The reason that this interval is recommended is that it allows time for the body to recover from the last exam. During the recovery period, you should avoid participating in strenuous activities, such as lifting. If you are experiencing any new or worrisome signs or symptoms, however, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
What should you be looking for when you schedule your first mammogram? When you schedule your first exam, be sure to bring along documentation, such as x-rays, so that your health care provider can obtain detailed pictures of your breast tissue. Bring along information about past illnesses and diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke.
Be sure to include information about your current medications, both over the counter and prescribed, as well as your family's medical history. It is very important that health care providers accurately assess the current state of your breast health to ensure proper treatment.
As you can see, scheduling a mammogram is not always an easy decision. In general, women should schedule their first exam at least one year before the expected onset of breast cancer.
However, many women choose to get their first mammogram even sooner in life, in response to a recent diagnosis of cancer in the breast. Regardless of when you choose to get your first mammogram, it is very important that you feel comfortable with the radiologist that is examining your breasts.