Skip to Content

Breast Cancer Screening Exams

Breast cancer screening exams help find breast cancer at an early stage. When found early, the chances for successfully treating the disease are greatest.

Along with regular exams, practice awareness. This means you should stay familiar with your breasts. That way you’ll notice changes, like a new lump or mass. Then, report them to your doctor without delay.

The screening recommendations below apply to most women.

Age 20 to 39

  • Clinical breast exam every 1 to 3 years (A health care provider checks for lumps or other changes.)

Age 40 to 75

  • Clinical breast exam every year
  • Mammogram every year

Exams for women at increased risk

Women at increased risk have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.

This doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. But, you may need to start screening at an earlier age, get additional tests or be tested more often.

You’re at increased risk for breast cancer if you fall under one or more of these groups.

Suspect you may be at increased risk? Print and share MD Anderson’s breast cancer screening chart with your doctor.

Exams for women who’ve had breast cancer

If you’ve had breast cancer, you need a different  plan to check for cancer recurrence.

Print the MD Anderson survivorship chart below that best describes your cancer. And share it with your doctor. Your doctor can use this chart to create a more tailored plan for you.

The screening plans on this page apply to women expected to live for at least 10 years. They’re not for women who have a health condition that may make it hard to diagnose or treat breast cancer. Your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening after age 75.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center