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When do you need a mammogram?

Major health organisations can’t agree on the best age to begin having routine mammograms (40? 50?), so how do you decide?



To start, all the groups support regular screening in your 40s if you’re at high risk for breast cancer. Now a new review of 66 studies from Oregon Health & Science University in the US has highlighted two crucial factors that double the risk in a 40-something woman (discuss these with your doctor):


1. Close-family History

A first-degree relative (female or male) who’s had breast cancer.


2. Extremely Dense Breast Tissue

This would need to have been noted on a previous mammogram.


Other Factors


A prior benign breast biopsy, a more distant relative with breast cancer and moderately dense breasts were rated as intermediate risks. Taking the Pill, never having children and first giving birth at age 30 or later came out as minor odds-raisers. ‘This helps you focus on the risks that have a big impact,’ says lead author Dr Heidi Nelson.


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