Mammography Guidelines

Experts estimate that about one out of every eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. The good news for women is that screening technologies, including digital mammography, combined with a better understanding of who is at highest risk means we are better equipped to find and treat cancers earlier than ever before. Early detection saves lives.

Today, due in part to solid educational awareness program such as Brake for Breakfast, women are more aware of their breast health and have at least some knowledge of the common risk factors. Subsequently, we are witnessing an increase in the number of women scheduling routine clinical exams and mammograms, especially during the month of October.

The American Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. Additionally, clinical breast exams (CBE) are recommended every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 or better. Some women, because of family history, a genetic tendency and/or other factors may need to begin mammograms earlier. Talk with you primary care physician to find what is right for you.

Mammography, albeit not perfect, is the best, most widely available and cost effective screening for the detection of breast cancer. Screening mammograms can detect breast abnormalities early in women in their 40s. Findings from a large study found that women who started screenings in their 40s were 29 percent less likely to die from breast cancer.

At Portneuf Medical Center, we are fortunate to have the most highly advanced digital mammographic equipment. Our highly trained and professional radiologists are skilled diagnosticians and when findings indicate further evaluation due to abnormal clinical findings, we are committed to completing the additional studies in a timely manner and communicating the results to the patient as quickly as possible. On average 5-15 percent of women will undergo further diagnostic testing either to confirm or rule out cancer.

To schedule a mammogram, call Portneuf Radiology Scheduling at 208-239-1500.