Breast cancer deaths can be reduced with effective screening. Screening is based on age and risk factors.
By age: Women 20 years and older should be taught about breast self-awareness. A woman should be aware of the normal feel and appearance of her breasts. She should see her doctor with any concerns.
Age 20 to 39: Breast exams should be done by a doctor every 1 to 3 years.
Age 40 and older: Breast exams by a doctor AND mammograms should be done yearly. “Enhanced screening” should be recommended and risk reduction methods should be discussed in women who test positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. This enhanced screening may include every 6 month breast exam, annual mammograms, annual MRI of breast, and guidance in self-examination.
Breast MRI is not recommended in women at average risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends MRI only in high-risk women with a 20% lifetime risk.
The following website reviews risks and the amount of increased risk of breast cancer with each risk factor. http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/RiskFactorsSummaryTable.html