According to the American Cancer Society, it was estimated 232,670 new cases of breast cancer in women in the United States in 2014. It is estimated that 40,430 breast cancer deaths occurred in 2014. Death rates from breast cancer have steadily decreased since 1989. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
Breast cancer typically has no symptoms when the tumor is small and most treatable. That is why it is so important for women to follow the current screening guidelines for mammography. Talk to your doctor about how often you should receive a mammogram and clinical breast exam.
American Cancer Society Recommendations for Early Breast Cancer Detection
These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Women with a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer, a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as BRCA), and women who had radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 are at higher risk for breast cancer, not average-risk. (See below for guidelines for women at higher than average risk.)
Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.
Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms associated with breast cancer screening. They should also be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.