ZocdocAnswersWhat information can mammography give someone lacking a family history of breast cancer?

Question

What information can mammography give someone lacking a family history of breast cancer?

Will mammograms show me anything about my breasts? I am 28 and feel it is too early.

Answer

A mammogram is an set of X-rays of a patient's breasts. Mammography is not generally recommended for women under 35, especially if you don't have a family history of breast cancer. The reason for this is that mammograms are not very good at visualizing any abnormality in younger people because the breast tissue of younger patients is generally denser and has less fat and more connective tissue in its composition. This makes it difficult to clearly visualize any significant abnormality. Because of this, it is often recommended to start with an ultrasound to evaluate breast tissue in younger patients (under 35). This of course should first and foremost be precluded by a thorough history and physical examination by an experienced physician who deals with breast disease and women's health. Only if there is something abnormal found on history and/or physical is it usually recommended to have further testing done such as imaging. If you have no symptoms, and don't have a personal or family history of breast cancer, 28 is likely too early to start getting mammograms. However a careful self exam and consultation with a women's health specialist is advised if any concern arises regarding an abnormal mass, discharge, or feeling in your breast. I highly recommend seeing your primary care physician, or breast/women's health specialist if you have any concerns or worries regarding any abnormal signs of symptoms relating to your breasts.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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