Breast Cancer Screening

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Often, there are no symptoms with breast cancer, especially in its early stages, but you should talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any changes in your breasts, including lumps, pain, redness, or discharge.

What is breast cancer screening?

The most common and effective screening test for breast cancer is a mammogram, which is an x-ray picture of the inside of the breast. A mammogram can find changes inside your breast before you might notice a lump or anything else unusual. 

Quality health care means that you and your doctor should talk about if you should be screened for breast cancer. You may or may not need breast cancer screening based on your age and family history. You can search and compare how well doctors' offices in Massachusetts screen for breast cancer. National standards recommend that healthy women between the ages of 50 and 74 receive a mammogram every two years. Some women are more likely to get breast cancer--particularly women with a family history of the disease--and should be screened earlier or more often.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that there are more than 207,000 new cases of breast cancer--and more than 39,000 deaths from the disease--each year. The earlier breast cancer is found, the more successful treatment can be.

What should I ask my doctor about breast cancer?

Here are some important questions to ask your doctor about breast cancer: