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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women.* However, the promising news is that most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage survive their cancer and continue to live normal lives.
Factors that place you at higher risk for breast cancer are:
These recommendations apply to women of average risk who do not have a gene mutation, strong family history of breast cancer, or other major risk factors. Regardless of risk, women of all ages should be seen by their physician on a regular basis as part of general screening.
Ages 18-45: Physician exam at annual physical; mammogram is usually not needed.
Ages 45-55: Physician exam at annual physical; annual mammography for women who are at average risk for breast cancer. Ages 55+: Physician exam at annual physical; mammography every two years for women who are at average risk for breast cancer. Regular mammograms should continue as long as a woman is in good health.
It's important to remember that these are guidelines; you should also discuss with your clinician your own personal preference, your risk of developing breast cancer, and the risks and benefits of screening.
If you believe you are at high risk, speak to your doctor or request an appointment at our Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention to determine which types of cancer screening tests are best for you, and how often you should be screened.
*Breast cancer can arise in men but there are fewer than 200 cases a year. If you're a man with a breast abnormality you should talk to your doctor.
Learn about Dana-Farber's Breast Oncology Program.
Find out about how we manage people at higher risk for breast cancer.
Find out about our metastatic breast cancer expertise.
Ask the expert about therapies for breast cancer.
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