How Often Should Mammograms Be Done?

For those students currently enrolled in the Bradley University online MSN nursing administration program, there are all kinds of information you are responsible for learning. It goes further than your studies though, as it’s also a good idea to be on top of the latest news, developments, and innovations in the health industry as a whole.

One question that has been popping up more and more often is the regularity of mammograms, as women question how often they should be performed.

When Should Mammograms Start?

The question of how often mammograms should be done is actually a two-part question, because part of that question should also be when should they be started. There is some debate going on right now about the age being pushed back to 50 instead of where it currently stands at 40. Among those recommending that the age for starting them be pushed to 50 is the American College of Physicians. In general, most groups recommend that regular mammograms be done until the woman reaches 74 years of age.

Of course, much of the starting age depends on the woman’s actual risk factors. According to the American Cancer Society, the age to start them should be 45 if that woman is of average risk of developing breast cancer.

How Often Should they Be Performed?

Here’s another area that has caused plenty of debate as of late with different groups feeling different ways. It also depends on the woman’s risk of developing cancer. For instance, the American Cancer Society feels mammograms should be done yearly from age 45-54 for those of “average risk” and then every other year after that point.

It’s become a rather interesting area of discussion as so many groups look at the guidelines and try to determine if and what changes need to be made. The Mayo Clinic is one that feels screening mammograms should start early and be done on a yearly basis so that abnormalities can be detected very early.

The Best Approach

With so many conflicting guidelines out there it can be difficult to know when to start and how often to have mammograms done. This is why it’s best to look at patients on an individual basis. Their own family doctor will be able to discuss such things as their own risk, their family medical history, their risks, etc. As well, it’s important that people contact their doctor immediately should they feel a lump or changes in their breast. In these cases, the “norm” won’t apply.

Keeping Yourself Informed

As a student in an MSN in nursing administration program it is important to stay informed of health news, changes to guidelines, new findings, etc. With mammograms being such a hot topic as of late, this is an area well worth looking into and following. Reading the latest news stories, medical journals, and findings will help you do just that. Whether it helps in your studies or not, there is a good chance it will help you as you set out in your career in the healthcare industry.

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