Dense breasts are mostly an issue affecting mammography performance so a patient generally does not need to know until they begin having mammograms. For women at normal risk, mammography is often recommended to begin at age 40. If a woman has a family history of breast cancer and has not begun mammography screening, she should speak to her doctor about personal risk factors and when mammography and possibly other screening should begin. As a general guide, if a woman’s mother or sister was diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50, she may want to begin annual screening 10 years before the relative’s age at diagnosis, but not before age 30.
European guidelines recommend double-read biennial screening digital mammography for average-risk women 50 to 69 years of age. Also encouraged are biennial screening for women 73 to 75 years of age, and annual screening for ages 40–45 to 49 .
1. Sardanelli F, Aase HS, Alvarez M, et al. Position paper on screening for breast cancer by the European Society of Breast Imaging (EUSOBI) and 30 national breast radiology bodies from Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Lithuania, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. Eur Radiol 2017; 27:2737-2743