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First Mammogram and Family History

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I have two aunts that have breast cancer right now. One was stage two, had a mastectomy and lymph node removal, and is currently taking tamoxifen for five years. My other aunt was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer about three months ago and had a single mastectomy and several lymph nodes removed. She is undergoing radiation and chemo treatments. Each was about 58-61 when diagnosed. Both are on my mother's side of the family, which also features each female family member having serious gynecological and osteoporosis issues.

My question is when should I get my first mammogram, and how often? I will be 38 at the end of the month. I do self-checks when I'm in the shower, but I know that's not enough.

Thanks

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Posted · Report post

This is an issue to discuss with your gynecologist.

I have no history of breast cancer in my family, but I have big boobs with a lot of dense tissue. My doctor was concerned that we might be missing something with the manual exams, so he prescribed my first mamo when I was 38. Talk to your doctor about it and if s/he says so, go ahead and get one.

It's good to have a baseline one from your late 30s-early 40s.

olga

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Posted · Report post

I second Olga's suggestion to have a serious chat about this with your gynecologist.

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Posted · Report post

I agree with what the others said--discuss this with your gynecologist. I am 39 and I had a baseline mammogram when I was 35 because of some family history of breast cancer. Since then, the conventional wisdom has changed and now 40 is the new baseline age. I asked my doctor about this change and she shrugged. As it's turned out, I had a lump this year which turned out to be a benign cyst, and discovered that two of my best friends (same age) also have benign cysts. I ended up having another mammogram this year, plus ultrasound, and it made me feel better to already have the baseline. By all means, if you're concerned about this, you should ask for a baseline mammogram. If you are at all concerned about having one, please don't. It was made out to be 100 times worse than it really was. It takes just a few minutes and while it's not the most comfortable thing, it's not painful either. Just...awkward. At least I had a super tech this year--she told me she was my personal photographer, and we turned it into a glamorous photo session. : ) Gotta find a way to laugh through these things.

Best of luck to you.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

You qualify as being able to get early mammograms, from what I was reading this morning. Something about a history of cancer in relatives, cancer yourself, and/or having kids after the age of 30. I'll try to find the link later and post it.

PS - I couldn't find the link I was looking for but I did find a good one from the Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mammogram-guidelines/AN02052.

I know that had I not been having mammograms on a regular basis, my breast cancer would not have been found when it was. I'm very, very luck that it was found early and I'm getting treatment.

Edited by sylvan

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