by Katy Henke
Breast cancer is back in the headlines this week with the announcement by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri) that she has been diagnosed with the disease following a routine mammogram.
For most women, regular mammograms can begin at age 40, but specific recommendations vary by age:
If you are age 40 – 44:
You can choose to begin yearly mammograms. It is important to talk to a doctor about the risk and benefits of mammograms at these ages.
Mammograms are recommended every year.
Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.
Learn more about the new mammography guidelines from the American Cancer Society.
In addition to getting recommended mammograms, women can also take steps to lower the risk of breast cancer. Some of these steps include being active, staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, and avoiding too much alcohol (see figure). While such healthy behaviors have the biggest impact when started earlier in life, they can have important breast health benefits for women of all ages.
Information for taking steps to improve breast health and lower cancer risk at nearly any age can be found in the free ebook, Together – Every Woman’s Guide to Preventing Breast Cancer.