Breast Screening Recommendations

The experts at the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program suggest the following screening recommendations for women without symptoms or a family history of breast cancer:

Screening recommendations When
Perform a breast self-examination Monthly
Visit your doctor for a clinical breast examination Annually
Have a screening mammogram Annually, beginning at age 40

Breast Screening Definitions

Clinical breast exam

A clinical breast exam is thorough physical examination of the breasts by health care specialist.

Screening mammogram

Mammograms can often detect breast cancer before it can be felt.

A screening mammogram can show small deposits of calcium in the breast. Although most calcium deposits are noncancerous (benign), a cluster of very tiny specks of calcium — called microcalcifications — may be an early sign of cancer.

Diagnostic mammogram

A diagnostic mammogram is for women who are experiencing symptoms of breast cancer or following a breast biopsy or breast cancer surgery.

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