Everybody is different, and there is not a universal age at which you are recommended to have your first breast cancer screening. Usually, breast cancer screenings are less useful in younger women because the breast tissue is denser, so it is harder to detect any potential cancers. However, some women have a higher risk of breast cancer and especially those with close family members with this disease.
These women should begin screening earlier than others, and screening may include other tests besides mammograms.
Generally, the American Cancer Society recommends women aged 40 to 44 are given the option to begin annual screening and that women aged 45 to 54 years should have annual screenings. Women aged 55 and older should receive screenings every two years but should be given the option for screening annually.
A mammogram only takes a few moments to complete, and although it may be momentarily uncomfortable as the breast tissue is squeezed between two plates, it should not feel painful. Monthly self-checks are also useful in detecting any changes to the breast tissue that could occur in between screenings.