Breast Cancer Screening

About breast cancer screening

Regular exams and mammograms are the most effective defense against breast cancer. Screening can detect it in the very early stages when it’s easiest to treat.

A typical screening consists of an examination of your breasts when you have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. It’s also a good way to recognize any changes in breast tissue — such as variation in size, shape or density of your breasts — that might signal malignant tumor formation.

Doing a regular self-exam at home is a good habit to get into, but you should also plan for a clinical breast exam performed by your doctor, usually your OB/GYN, who is specially trained in what to look for, such as breast lumps and other abnormalities.

When should I get a breast cancer screening?

Main Line Health recommends all women begin annual screening at age 40.

If you’re at high-risk for breast cancer — including if you have a family history of breast cancer or have tested positive for an abnormal breast cancer gene — you should discuss your screening plan with your provider. Depending on your health history, they may advise additional screenings or starting screenings younger.

What to expect

If your mammogram shows an abnormality, your provider may order additional testing, such as biopsy, MRI, blood tests or other diagnostic procedures. It’s important to keep in mind that a breast abnormality does not always indicate cancer.

Your provider will inform you of screening results and advise you of next steps accordingly.


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