Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer worldwide, affecting about 12% of women worldwide. Screening of asymptomatic, healthy women for breast cancer is performed as an attempt to achieve an earlier diagnosis, with greater chances for successful treatment and survival.
A mammography/mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and it is the most effective medical tool used for screening of breast cancer. Several studies have been carried out to find the most appropriate age to start screening with mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so; they also recommend annual screening for women age 45 to 54, and for women 55 and older, they can have the choice of continuing yearly screening or having a mammography every 2 years. Screening is continued as long as the woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that women ages 40 to 49 should have the decision to start biennial screening mammography (taking the patient context into account, including specific benefits and plausible harms), and that woman age 50 to 74 should be screened every 2 years. They also conclude that the current evidence is insufficient to assess for benefits and harms of screening mammography in women 75 years and older.