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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Mammography (muh-mah-gra-fee) is an X-ray technique used to diagnose and locate abnormalities within the female breasts. If you find a lump in your breast, your doctor may recommend that you have a mammogram. Mammography is currently the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage. It can help determine the likelihood that a lump is cancerous, and with regular screening, mammography can detect most tumors before they can be felt. Screening is especially important for women in higher risk groups, including women older than 50, women who have had no children or a first child after age 30, and women who have a close relative, such as a sister or mother, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends a baseline mammogram for all women between 35 and 40. Women between the ages of 40 and 50 should have a mammogram every one to two years at their discretion, or as directed by their doctor. After age 50, the guidelines call for a mammogram once a year. If detected early, there is a much better chance of cure. For more information about mammography, contact a healthcare provider.

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