Screening & Detection for Breast Cancer
Early detection with regular mammography, clinical breast examinations and self-exams are boosting breast cancer survival rates. These screening tools can detect breast cancer at an early stage when it's most curable.
Signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Spontaneous nipple discharge or tenderness
- An inverted nipple
- Ridges or pitting on the breast (resembling an orange peel)
- A change in the look or feel of the breast, areola or nipple (such as temperature, swelling, redness or a scaly feel)
A woman who has any of these symptoms should consult her physician immediately. Early detection is the best protection.
The American Cancer Society recommends:
Learn more about screening and diagnostic mammograms and how to make an appointment >>
- Monthly breast self-exams for women age 20 and older
- Clinical breast exams every three years for women ages 20-39
- Screening mammograms and clinical breast exams every year for women 40 and older or beginning 10 years younger than a first-degree relative (mother or sister) developed breast cancer. (If your mother developed breast cancer at 40, start having mammography at 30.)
- Some women (less than 2 percent) should be screened with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to mammography. This is recommended when there is a family history of breast cancer, a genetic tendency or highly calculated lifetime risk factors.
- Women who received mantle radiation for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or who have biopsy-proven high risk breast lesions should begin annual mammography at an earlier age.