Dr. Natasha Withers: The lifetime risk of a woman developing breast cancer is one in eight and that risk increases as she gets older. Given this, most medical and cancer research professionals agree that every woman should do some amount of screening for breast cancer as part of her preventative health.
But which screening should you do and when? These are questions regularly debated as people weigh the balances between the possible benefit of early breast cancer detection and treatment versus a risk of false positive and unnecessary intervention.
It's important that you have an informed discussion with your primary care physician. If you have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, you may need earlier screening tests that are recommended for others.
For those of average risk, you should begin a conversation with your doctor and give some consideration to mammography starting at age 40. And if you are in your 50s or 60s, it's advisable to get a routine annual mammogram.
All women, regardless of age, should be familiar with their breasts. It's very important to know your body and see your doctor if you notice any unusual changes. And remember, eat healthfully, get exercise, and don't smoke as these positive behaviors may contribute to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer.
I am Dr. Natasha. Live well!