Breast cancer is one of the biggest concerns for women and is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in women in the United States. Although breast cancer can occur in both men and women, it is far more common in women. Prevention and early detection are the keys to increasing survival.

A mammogram is a procedure using ionizing radiation that allows a qualified radiology specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. Mammograms often show a breast lump, cysts, fibroadenoma, or suspicious clusters of calcification before it can be felt or palpated.

There are different mammogram guidelines that have created some confusion in the past few years.

The US Preventative Services Task Force mammogram guidelines recommend that women begin screening at age 50 and continue every two years until age 74. The American Cancer Society recommends women begin yearly mammogram screening at age 45 and then continue every two years starting at age 55. However, the patient’s physical examination, personal, and family history must be taken into account when recommending mammograms and some patients may need to begin as early as age 40 depending on their history and personal needs.