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All About the Latest Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time to raise awareness, celebrate success, and most importantly, take a proactive approach to your own breast health.

Around 240,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. It can happen to anyone — and the importance of early detection can’t be overstated. Discovering breast cancer early is one of the best ways to improve your chances of successful treatment and survival.

Farly Sejour, MD, Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, and our team at Solace Women's Care specialize in women’s wellness. We’re here to help you understand the latest breast cancer screening guidelines so you can stay informed about the best practices for early detection and prevention.

The basics of breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. It occurs when abnormal cells in your breast start growing uncontrollably, forming a lump or mass.

Anyone can get breast cancer, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. However, certain factors can increase your risk, including gender, age, family history, certain genetic mutations, and hormonal changes.

The importance of breast cancer screenings

Breast cancer screenings include routine tests like mammograms and breast exams. They’re critical to protecting your health, because they allow for the early detection of breast cancer.

Screenings can point to breast cancer before noticeable symptoms develop — and treatment is most effective in these early stages. Regular screenings can save lives, making it essential for women to stay informed about the latest guidelines.

We recommend starting discussions about breast cancer screening around age 40. Early conversations help us to tailor a screening plan that considers your individual risk factors and preferences, for a more patient-centered approach to breast health.

Depending on your age, personal health history, and family health history, we may recommend breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, mammograms, or a combination of approaches.

The latest breast cancer screening guidelines

Health care experts are constantly evaluating breast cancer screening guidelines, and it’s important to stay up-to-date to protect your health. 

The following guidelines are based on the latest recommendations from various organizations, including the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).


Mammograms are the most common (and most effective) screening method for breast cancer. The ACS recommends that all women get annual mammograms between ages 45 and 54. Beginning at age 50, you may consider switching to mammograms once every two years.

Remember that your individual risk factors and family history may influence the timing and frequency of your mammogram recommendations, so it's essential to have this discussion with Dr. Sejour and our team.

Clinical breast exams

Clinical breast exams are manual exams performed by your health care provider. During your well-woman exam, we use our hands to gently palpate your breasts and feel for lumps or other changes.

Experts generally recommend clinical breast exams every 1-3 years for women in their 20s and 30s, and annually for women ages 40 and older.

Breast self-exams

Breast self-exams involve checking your breasts regularly for any changes, like lumps or unusual textures. 

While the latest guidelines no longer recommend routine breast self-exams, being aware of your body and any changes in your breast health is still valuable. If you notice anything unusual, schedule a doctor’s appointment right away.

Genetic testing

If you have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, we may recommend genetic testing. 

Testing can identify specific genetic mutations associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Your results can help determine your personalized screening and prevention plan.

Breast MRI

In some cases, experts recommend regular breast MRI screenings along with mammograms. MRI screening can be helpful for women who have a high risk of breast cancer, like a strong family history of breast cancer or known genetic mutations.

Staying informed about the latest breast cancer screening guidelines is essential. So this October, take control of your health and learn what breast cancer screenings are right for you. Schedule a women’s wellness exam with our team at Solace Women’s Care to get started.

Call our Conroe, Texas, office at 936-441-7100 or send us a message online today.

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