Alert
Close

Help Disrupt Aging. Join White House Live Stream Today at 8:30 a.m. ET. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

How to Personalize Your Mammogram

Develop the screening schedule that's best for you based on your health risks

  • Breast density. The study concludes that all women should have a screening mammogram at age 40 to check the density of their breasts.

    Density is directly linked to breast cancer risk, which rises as density increases although the reasons are unclear. The size and shape of breasts don't provide a clue; density describes the relative amount of different kinds of tissue present in the breast. As breast density goes up, so does the risk of cancer. Women with extremely dense breasts have a substantially higher risk of cancer than women with mostly fatty breasts.

    One widely used measure to assess density is the American College of Radiology's BI-RADS rating scale of 1 to 4. In the scale 1 is mostly fatty and 4 is extremely dense. Radiologists routinely note this information on mammogram results. Patients receive a written summary of findings and doctors get a technical report. If the summary you receive doesn't contain this information, ask your doctor where you are on the spectrum. "Second to age, breast density is the strongest risk factor," Kerlikowske says. "Women should know their breast density score."
  • Breast biopsy. Women who have had a biopsy that reveals noncancerous changes in breast tissue may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. These changes can include abnormal cells in the breast ducts or milk-producing sacs, benign (noncancerous) lumps, and benign cysts. "When you do a mammogram, you may see something that should be biopsied," says Kerlikowske. "Although it's not cancer, there's some underlying process going on that increases the risk. It's a marker." Even if the tissue turns out to be completely normal, the chances of developing cancer go up.
  • Family history. A woman's risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a "first-degree" relative — mother, daughter, sister — who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two first-degree relatives with breast cancer increase the risk fivefold. Aunts and grandmothers don't count as first-degree relatives.

Next: Personalize your own screening plan with your doctor. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Advertisement