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When should a woman undergo a mammography?

According to the guidelines of international health organizations, it is recommended:

For women of the general population

  • Aged 40-44: Commencement of annual screening by choice
  • Aged 45-55: Annual screening
  • Aged 55 and over: screening every two years or annually by choice

Screening must continue if the woman is in good clinical condition and has a life expectancy of over 10 years.

For high-risk women (>25%) annual mammography and breast MRI are recommended. This should commence around the age of 30.

This group includes:

  • BRCA1-BRCA2 gene mutation carriers
  • Women who have undergone radiotherapy of the mediastinum between the ages of 10 and 30
  • Women with a 1st degree relative (parent, sister, child) who is a BRCA1-BRCA2 carrier, even if they have not undergone genetic testing
  • Women with known hereditary syndromes (e.g. Li-Fraumeni, etc)

For medium-risk women (<15%)

This group includes:

  • Women with personal risk of breast cancer, DCIS, LCIS, ADH or ALH (DCIS = ductal carcinoma in situ, LCIS = lobular carcinoma in situ, ADH = atypical ductal hyperplasia, ALH = atypical lobular hyperplasia)
  • Women with dense breasts

There is no evidence supporting or discouraging MRI screening as supplementary to a mammography.

A mammography should also be preformed in the following cases: as a follow-up for women with a history of breast surgery; to further investigate clinical findings after breast palpation; and to further examine suspect U/S findings. Mammography should always be coupled with a physical exam by an experienced physician.