Woman holding slice of birthday cake on her 40th birthday.

Age for First Mammogram

Medical experts recommend that all women should start receiving their annual screening mammogram at age 40. This recommendation is supported by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), and the breast imaging specialists at The Breast Center of Maple Grove.

Why Age 40?

Beginning regular mammograms at this age allows your radiologist to establish a baseline mammogram. This makes it easier to detect any changes in the breast tissue during future screenings. 

The sooner your radiologist can identify breast abnormalities, the earlier you can begin treatment, which is often less invasive and more successful.

In fact, according to SBI, annual screening mammograms starting at age 40 reduce breast cancer mortality by 30%.

Should I Get a Mammogram Sooner?

You might be asking, “At what age should I get a mammogram if I have a family history of cancer.” If this is the case, you may want to begin annual screenings earlier than age 40—but talk with your doctor first. 

Your healthcare team will likely evaluate your family’s health history, current lifestyle and diet, and other critical factors to decide the best age for your first mammogram

Also, diagnosing breast cancer in women under 40 is typically more challenging due to the fact that they have denser breast tissue than older women. 

Nevertheless, early breast cancer screening may be right for you if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • A parent, sibling, or child diagnosed with breast cancer
  • A personal history of breast cancer
  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

Be sure to maintain open and honest communication with your doctor and express any concerns you may have. Asking questions frequently is also encouraged! Remember, it’s always wise to exercise caution, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer.

What Is the Earliest Age for a First Mammogram?

Approximately 5% of breast cancer cases occur in women under 40. Therefore, your doctor may recommend earlier screening and other testing measures if you are at higher risk for breast cancer.

If, for example, you carry a BRCA mutation, it’s recommended to start breast MRI screenings at the age of 25 and annual mammograms in conjunction with breast MRIs at age 30.

A BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation can raise your chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer, so discussing genetic testing and ways to decrease your risk with your healthcare provider is essential. 

What If I Don’t Have a Family History of Cancer?

Even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, you need to schedule annual mammograms.

DID YOU KNOW…3 out of 4 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high-risk?

Breast cancer screening with mammography helps detect breast cancer early and saves lives! So, even if you’re in excellent health and have no family history of breast cancer, you must get regular screenings starting at age 40. 

Do I Need My Doctor to Refer Me First?

No. Women aged 40 and older do not need to wait on their clinician to have yearly mammograms. 

If you have any breast concerns, including pain, nipple discharge, redness, or any other breast changes, speak with your doctor first to see what imaging exam may be best for you.

Your breast screening center and primary healthcare team should work together to ensure you’re getting the best screening, treatment, and information you need, so be sure to let your clinician know you’re having annual mammograms and where. 

You can also ask your doctor for referrals. 

 Schedule Your Mammogram Today

Getting your annual mammogram at The Breast Center of Maple Grove is easy and hassle-free, even with a busy schedule. Our center offers  mammograms from Monday to Friday, with extended hours on Tuesdays.

To schedule your appointment, complete our online form or contact us at (763) 398-6370.

For tips on your first visit, read our guide! And if you’d like a sneak peek of our center, you can take a virtual tour now.