Experts are not sure if some women should start reviewing before.
A new study suggests that mammograms starting from age 30 can be suitable for women with certain risk factors, but experts say the screening method may not be effective for this group.
The study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, revealed that annual mammography that begins at age 30 can benefit women who have a dense breast or a family or personal history of breast cancer.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 5 million mammographs to more than 2.6 million women in the period from 2008 to 2015 in 150 facilities covering 31 countries across the United States.
Mammography is the standard approach used to record breast cancer. The American Cancer Association recommends women at average risk of breast cancer to receive annual mammograms starting from 45 years old, and then every second year, starting 55 years.
The Society also suggests that women can choose mammograms for 40 years.
Other organizations, including the Radiological Society of North America, recommend annual mammography at the age of 40, but recommendations for younger women are not so clear.
"There is not enough published data on this topic, but most organizations recognize women at risk of breast cancer who require early onset or additional examination.
"Our findings suggest that the recommendations of screening mammography should be personalized based on the age of women, breast density, personal history of breast cancer and family history of breast cancer," said Dr Cindy Lee, author of the study and assistant professor of radiology at the Langone Medical Center in New York for Healthline .
Lee points out that the American Radiology College began recommending that all women be assessed for the risk of breast cancer when they reach the age of 30.
"Our findings raise the question of whether this risk assessment should initially include an initial screening mammogram at the age of 30 in order to determine the breast density for a practice that routinely recommends that women be examined in the 40s," she said. "Future research is needed to assess the risks and benefits of doing basic mammography at age 30."
Although the study was done on an age group of 40 to 49 years, Lee says it is difficult to investigate women in the age group of 30 to 39 years, as most in this age group do not receive mammography. But that does not mean that they are not in danger of breast cancer.
More than 1,000 women under 40 die every year from breast cancer in the United States.
"Most women with breast cancer diagnosis are 40 years of age or older, but according to the latest American breast cancer statistics, 4 percent of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women under the age of 40. With more than 250,000 new breast cancer diagnoses each year , it's not even a small number of women. "Dr Lauren Nye, an oncologist at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
In this latest study, Lee and colleagues assessed three specific risk factors: family history (considered to be the first-degree parent with diagnosed breast cancer, regardless of age), personal history of breast cancer or dense breast.
"Dense breasts can obscure basic mammographic abnormalities, including breast cancer. Having more fibroglandular breast tissue (and less fat), it is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer," Lee told Healthline.
However, experts who are not associated with the study advised attention when considering mammography at the age of 30, especially on the basis of thick breasts.
Dense breasts are common in younger women. Research estimates 74 percent of women aged 40 to 49 years of age have dense breasts compared to just 36 percent of women in the 1970s. Most women under 40 have dense breast tissue.
Breast Density in Mammography refers to the amount of parenchymal tissue in relation to the amount of fat in the breast. Parenchymal tissue appears white in mammography – and this is also the cancerous mass. Therefore, it is difficult to detect risks in those with thick breasts.
Dr. Diana Miglioretti, a professor of biostatistics at UC Davis Medical School, says that most women in their 30s have dense breast tissue, the benefits of mammography for women without a personal history of breast cancer can not overcome the risks.
"Women with thick breasts are more likely to have false alarms and benign biopsies than mammography screening. A survey of women in their thirties with dense breasts will probably lead to many false alarms and benign biopsies without much benefit, due to the very low cancer rate in this age group "she told Healthline.
Miglioreti points out that under the current guidelines "all women with a personal history of breast cancer should be examined annually (unless they have a double mastectomy), regardless of age."
"In addition, women with risk factors who place them at high risk, for example, women with genetic mutation or probe for cancer treatment, need to start screening in the younger age," she said.
"For other women, even women with family history or dense breasts, the benefits of mammography screening during the 30s probably will not exceed the damage from screening in this age group, as breast cancer is so rare in this age group," added is Miglioretti.
Dr. Onalisa Winblad, a radiologist at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, says other forms of assessment can be helpful for women under 40 years of age.
"By the time a woman is 30 years old, she should meet with her doctor and discuss the risk of breast cancer in order to evaluate whether an early or additional breast cancer examination may be shown. Clinical examination of the breast by a trained medical professional can begin and at the age of 20, "she said.
At that time, no country or organization has guidelines that recommend mammography for women under 40 years of age, unless you have a personal history of breast cancer or other risk factors that put them at high risk.
"Mammography simply does not work well with younger women, primarily due to the density of breast tissue," said Dr. Deanna Attai, Assistant Clinical Professor at Medical School David Geffen at UCLA. "In women with family history of breast cancer, we often start screening 10 years before the diagnosis of the youngest cousin, but in younger women it does not rely solely on mammography."
Attai suggests for patients at increased risk of genetics or BRCA genes, they will begin to review early and often use small scans, such as an MRI or ultrasound device.
She recommends that women who are concerned about the risk of breast cancer should talk to their doctor and check their breast exams regularly.
"It's wise for women to practice self-confidence in their breasts," she says. Understand how she feels normal breast tissue and monthly variations, check periodically and report changes to your doctor, "Attai said.
"In addition, know the risk factors and your family history of breast and other cancers and talk about it with your doctor. High-risk women can be recommended to undergo mammography or other tests such as ultrasound or MRI," she said.
A recent study shows that a mammogram that starts in 30 years can be useful for women with a personal history of breast cancer, family history or dense breasts.
However, experts say mammography may not be effective for women in this age group, and other evaluations would be more useful. Women who are concerned about the risk of breast cancer should consult with their doctor.