Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Recommendations for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer

Led by a multidisciplinary team of highly skilled medical professionals, Loyola Medicine is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. As with any cancer type, regular screenings for breast cancer are the best way to detect problems early and give you the best possible outcomes for your treatment.

Loyola follows breast cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society, which recommend:

  • Yearly mammograms starting at age 40, continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
     
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) every three years for women in her 20s and 30s, and every year for women age 40 and older
     
  • Breast self-exam (BSE) for women starting in her 20s

Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their primary care physician or OB/GYN.

A small percentage of women may need to be screened with breast MRI in addition to mammograms, because of family history, a genetic tendency or other factors. Learn more about our risk assessment programs or talk with your Loyola doctor about your history to determine whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.

Mammogram: The Standard for Detecting Breast Cancer

A screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and used for women who have no symptoms or signs of breast cancer. The goal of a screening mammogram is to detect signs of breast cancer early, when your chances for successful treatment are the highest.

With five locations in the western and southwestern Chicago suburbs, Loyola makes it easy to schedule a mammogram in your area. You will need to have a physician's referral to have your screening mammogram. Our highly experienced breast care staff will expertly handle your screening while making sure you are comfortable, answering any questions you may have, and easing your concerns.

Complete recommendations are available at cancer.org and cancer.gov.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Programs

Loyola’s oncology team highly recommends understanding your risk for cancer when your personal or family history indicates a risk. 

If you have a family history of breast cancer or have had abnormal biopsies, you may be at risk for breast cancer. By knowing your risks, you may be able to take steps to reduce them.

That’s why Loyola offers two cancer risk assessment programs for breast cancer:

  • Our cancer risk assessment and prevention program provides comprehensive risk assessment, preventive treatment and access to clinical trials through a multidisciplinary approach, including access to specialists within Loyola's highly regarded academic medical center.
     
  • The cancer genetics evaluation program was developed to help individuals and families with an increased risk of developing cancer based on hereditary susceptibility. The program offers consultation if you already have had cancer and are concerned about your risk for other cancers, or if you have not had cancer but are considered high risk. Genetic counselors and medical geneticists analyze your family history, perform a risk evaluation and offer strategies to reduce risk when possible.

If you are concerned about the possibility of breast cancer due to family history, breast changes or abnormal screening results, contact your primary care physician who will determine if our cancer risk assessment programs are right for you.