There is no controversy that women aged 50 to 69 need screening mammography. The question is whether women older and younger benefit.
Studies have estimated that mammography detects about 75% of breast cancers in women in their 40s, compared to 90% of breast cancers in women in their 50s and 60s. This is most likely because younger breasts are more dense and difficult to evaluate.
The age to start mammography is suggested at age 40 (per American Cancer Society). The ideal interval for screening mammography is not known, experts suggest every one to two years. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening until age 74. Although, there is merit in breast cancer screening as long as a woman has a life expectancy of at least 10 years.
Women with breast implants should also have mammograms. The implants may impair the ability of the radiologist to accurately read the mammogram, but technicians use special techniques to help show the breast tissue. The implants should not be harmed.
You can calculate your level of breast cancer risk. The most commonly used breast cancer risk assessment tool is www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/
So, call for an appointment. It is easy, your breast is only handled for a few minutes (and squeezed for a few seconds), and the results can help you live a long time.