Screening means looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. Screening can help find cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat. The most common way to screen for breast cancer is a mammogram, an x-ray picture of the inside of the breast. Mammograms can find about 80% (8 out of 10) of all breast cancers, before you may be able to feel something like a hard lump in your breast. All women between the ages of 50 and 74 need a mammogram every other year. Some women at higher risk for breast cancer may need to start getting mammograms at an earlier age (40 or even earlier), and may need mammograms or other tests more often.
This measure shows the percent of women 40 to 59 years old in each practice who received a mammogram. A higher number is better.
Why it is important
Checking women for breast cancer saves lives. When breast cancer is found early, there is a much better chance that it can be successfully treated.
What you and your doctor should do
You and your doctor should plan for the mammogram when and if appropriate. Your doctor should tell you how often you should have a mammogram based on your risk factors for breast cancer. It is your responsibility to have the mammogram after it is ordered.