Breast Cancer

In Washington:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

What Can You Do? Get Screened!

Getting screened is the best way to find breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances for successful treatment. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider about when and how often you should get screened.

Mammograms: What to Expect

Usually a breast exam is done before you get a mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. A doctor will look at the X-ray for early signs of breast cancer or other problems. If it is abnormal, do not panic. An abnormal mammogram does not always mean that there is cancer. You will need additional tests before the doctor can tell for sure.

Who should get screened for Breast Cancer?

  • Women ages 50 and over.
  • Women ages 40 to 49 years old should talk to their healthcare provider about when to start and how often to get screened.
  • Women with a family history of breast cancer should talk to their healthcare provider about their risk and when to start screening.

Breast cancer can occur in men but it is about 100 times less common among men than among women. Screening is not routinely recommended.

Additional Resources

Learn more about breast screening.

Visit the Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program for information about free or low cost breast cancer screening.

Questions about mammograms? Find answers on the mammogram information page from the Office on Women's Health.

Learn about breast cancer in young women (PDF) and use the new Know:BRCA tool to help you assess your genetic risk for breast cancer. BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility gene.