About half of all breast cancers are discovered by the patient. Practicing breast awareness is 5the first screening method. Many women choose to do monthly self-exams as a means of maintaining awareness of what their normal looks like. For more information on how to do a breast self-exam, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
In terms of medical examinations, mammograms are the most common way to screen for breast cancer. Between the ages of 45 and 54, you should get a mammogram every year. After the age of 55, you can switch to getting mammograms every two years. Before the age of 45, you have the option of getting an annual mammogram based on your individual risk factors. If you are younger than 40, you can request a mammogram as needed.
You also have the option to screen for breast cancer through ultrasounds or a self-exam. These techniques are a bit easier. Yet they are less accurate when it comes to detecting breast cancer early on. A breast MRI may also be an option for women who want to avoid x-rays.
Other screening options include molecular breast imaging, positron emission mammography, and electrical impedance imaging. These techniques are newer and less tested, but they show promising potential and may be good alternatives if you have dense breasts.