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Breast Cancer

Radiation from mammograms

11/24/2009

Question:

Hello - I`m a 33 yr old woman, with no breast cancer history in my family, but i do have lumpy, painful, fibrous breasts. As a result - i have had 2 mammograms in my past (one film and one digital - at age 31 and 32) in addition to numerous ultrasounds. Do i need to be worry about this radiation exposure?? I was certainly younger than 40...but it isn`t like i`m getting them every year. Is the radiation concern "cumulative" for those under 40...meaning that if you start earlier...you will have more over your lifetime increasing your radiation exposure? The new guidelines also instilled additional fear as well :) Thank you!

Answer:

There is very little risk from mammograms, and when indicated by findings your exam you should continue to have them done at your current age, then annually after 40. I would request digital mammograms, because they are a more sensitive test at your age.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University