Answered by on Monday, June 1, 2009
All women who are menstruating should do a self-examination of their breasts at least once a month and have doctor's office breast exam once a year. If you have a mother, daughter, or sister with premenopausal breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends getting your first mammogram at around age 35. You may also be at increased risk for breast cancer if you have never had children or you began menstruating at an early age. The warning signs of breast cancer include: an unexplained lump or thickening in the breast or armpit; puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast; discharge or bleeding from the nipple; a recent change in the nipple (i.e., a nipple that has pulled inward); or a change in the skin of the breast. If any of the above applies to you, please contact your doctor about having an exam and the need for a mammogram. Otherwise, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women ages 40 to 50 should have mammography done every one to two years. Women who are 50 years old and older should have one done each year.