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When Does/Should Breast Cancer Screening Start?

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Breast cancer screening is the process of examining a woman’s breast for cancer cells. It is done before the cancer symptoms are visible since it is easy to manage and even possible to treat the disease when discovered early.

The Health Advisory Clinic maintains that every woman should be made aware of the best breast cancer screening options available for them. Usually, when you visit a medical facility that offers this service or a cancer screening center, the physicians will open up with you about how each screening options work and, most importantly, the benefits and potential risks.

You’ll then have to decide whether to go for the screening or not. Health professionals refer to this as ‘the informed and shared decision making’.

Here’s a breakdown of the guidelines on when breast cancer screening should start;

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations for Women who are at average risk of getting breast cancer

  • It is appropriate for every woman between the ages of 25 and 40 to have a yearly clinical breast examination.
  • If you’re between 50 to 74 years, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a mammogram every two years. If you’re 40 to 49 years, your doctor will guide you on the appropriate time to start the mammogram and how often you should get it. In most cases, though, the physician will recommend yearly clinical breast examination and an annual mammogram.
  • If you have dense breast tissues, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound.
  • It is also advisable for every woman 20 years and above to do a self-breast exam every month. The goal is to ensure that you’re familiar with your breasts so you can catch any abnormal change quickly.

You can be considered an average risk person if;

  • You have no history of atypia. Atypical hyperplasia is a type of benign breast disease.
  • You don’t have a history of the ductal or lobular carcinoma in situ. This refers to anomalous cells confined to the lobule or the milk duct.
  • You don’t have any breast cancer symptoms.
  • You have no family history of breast cancer in your first-degree relatives. First-degree relatives include children, parents, or siblings.
  • You don’t have any history of mantle radiation. Mantle radiation is a radiation therapy designed for managing Hodgkin’s disease and related conditions.
  • You don’t have a history of Invasive Breast Cancer (IBC).
  • There’s no evidence or hint of having a hereditary syndrome, for example, BRCA mutation. In this case, the evidence or hint may be first or second-degree relative having ovarian or breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations for Women Who Are Above Average Risk for Breast Cancer

  • A bi-annual clinical breast exam. 
  • The physician may also alternate between a mammogram and breast MRI on a bi-annual basis.
  • A yearly mammogram. 
  • If you have dense breast tissues, the doctor may recommend supplemental imaging.

You may be considered an above-average person if;

  • You have had or been treated with atypical hyperplasia.
  • You have had mantle radiation. Apart from the bi-annual and possible yearly breast MRI, it would be best if you started an annual mammogram eight years from the time you had the radiation treatment.
  • You have a family with a first-degree history of breast cancer.
  • You’ve ever been treated for lobular carcinoma in situ.
  • You have a genetic risk for breast cancer, for example, if you have a BRCA mutation. In this case, the annual mammogram should start at age 25.

Here are the breast cancer screening guidelines to follow if you have a family history of breast cancer

  • An annual mammogram. 
  • The doctor may recommend that you alternate a mammogram and MRI every six months.
  • A clinical breast exam every six months.
  • Supplemental imaging may be necessary if you have dense breast tissues.

Does Screening for Breast Cancer Work?

Breast cancer screening has its fair share of pros and cons. Nonetheless, it works. According to this research report, screening for breast cancer can help reduce mortality rates by 40 percent. 

To avoid any nasty surprises, the basic rule of thumb is to go for the screening at a reputable facility in Singapore. Your doctor will discuss the intensity of the processes and the possible risks of the screening so you can make an informed decision.

Where Can I Go For Breast Cancer Screening in Singapore?

If you’re looking for the best breast cancer screening, Singapore offers some of the best options considering the high number of good doctors and health facilities. However, it is still crucial that you perform due diligence before choosing a facility. Here is a breakdown of the questions to ask about breast cancer screening.

  • What are the best breast cancer screening tests you can recommend for me? Do you believe a clinical breast exam or mammogram would benefit me?
  • Is there a chance that I’m at a higher risk of getting breast cancer? If so, is it appropriate that I get special cancer screening tests or get screened more often?
  • What are the possible risks and advantages of breast cancer screening?

Final Word

Breast cancer is treatable when it is discovered at the early stages. While regular screenings are essential, make it your priority to know your body. Importantly, don’t forget about the monthly self-breast exam that you can do on your own. If you need help starting breast cancer screening, fill the contact form below with your details, and we’ll respond swiftly.