A 39-year-old member asked:
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too young for a mammogram? breast cancer runs in my family, and i'm really concerned about my own health. i'm only 17 - is it too early to get a mammogram?

4 doctor answers
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
41 years experience Internal Medicine
Yes, : Yes, it is too early for you to get a mammogram. At this age, focus on self breast exams and familiarize yourself with the way your breasts feel so that you can notice if a lump develops in the future. Mammograms in young females are often extremely difficult to interpret because the breast tissue is so dense it hides most lesions. Screening for breast cancer using mammography starts at age 40. If you have a sister or mother who were diagnosed with breast cancer when they were younger than 50 years of age, then screening with breast MRI and genetic testing may be indicated.
Answered on Oct 3, 2016
Dr. Christopher Oxner
18 years experience Surgical Oncology
Most likely yes: Mammograms become less accurate in women below forty and typically an ultrasound is the first imaging technique used. But there may be times when a physician will order a mammogram on a younger person. The important thing is to maintain regular follow-up with your primary care so your risk can be accessed and appropriate screening can be initiated.
Answered on Jan 18, 2013
Dr. Travis Kidner
17 years experience Surgical Oncology
Yes: 17 is probably too young. If you are concerned about an area, you may consider an ultrasound. Generally i recommend that women with a family history start getting mammograms 5 to 10 years younger than the when the family member was diagnosed with breast cancer, or age 40; whichever comes first.
Answered on Apr 4, 2013
Dr. Michael Gabor
33 years experience Diagnostic Radiology
It is too young: for a screening mammogram, but not too young for a risk profile if you have a strong family history. Has anyone in your family been tested for the BRCA gene? Sometimes screening begins in the 20s for BRCA carriers or other very high risk individuals.
Answered on Jul 18, 2014

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