If you’re in your 40s, you have some options around whether or not you should begin having screening mammograms. Talk to your health care provider to help decide what is right for you.
Women aged 40-49 who have an average risk of breast cancer are recommended to have a discussion with their health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening mammography.
If you do decide to go ahead with screening, you can have a screening mammogram every two years.
Women aged 40-49 have a lower chance of developing breast cancer, so it is important that these women make an informed decision to screen by being aware of their personal risk of cancer, as well as the benefits and limitations of screening.
Women in this age group generally have dense breast tissue that can hide signs of cancer, so the chance of false positive or false negative results is higher. A false positive is a false alarm, when a mammogram indicates that you might have cancer when in fact you do not. False positive results may lead to anxiety, and further medical testing, such as biopsies. A false negative is when a cancer is present and is not detected.
The Screening Mammography Decision Aid is now available to support women in making an informed decision to screen for breast cancer using mammography. Complete this short, online form to receive your personalized report.
For women with higher than average risk:
Different screening options are available for women who have a higher than average risk of breast cancer. This includes women with a first degree relative diagnosed with breast cancer (mother, sister or daughter); a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation; or prior chest wall radiation Talk to your health care provider about the best screening options for you.