Why Is Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram) Important?

A screening mammogram is the best method to detect breast cancer early for women over the age of 50. Finding cancer early improves survival.

Why have a screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts for women who have not noticed any symptoms or changes in their breasts. Screening mammograms usually involve two x-ray pictures of each breast.

The x-ray pictures can find cancers as small as a grain of rice before you or your doctor can feel any changes in your breasts.

Why are screening mammograms important?

When breast cancer is found early, most women will get better and get back to their normal lives.

This is because breast cancer treatment works best when the cancer is still small and has not spread outside the breast to other parts of the body.

Who needs to screen?

While breast cancers can affect many different women, there are some age groups that benefit from mammograms more than others.

If you have any concerns about breast cancer, no matter what age you are, please speak with your doctor.

Who should have a mammogram?

Women should have their first screening mammogram at age 50 and then every two years until they are 74.

Research shows that regular screening has the greatest benefit for women in this age group.

Women 50 to 74 years old

The majority of breast cancers occur in women aged over 50 years. Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when treatment is likely to be most successful.

Women 40 to 49 years old

Breast screening is less effective for women in this age group because of the difference in breast tissue. In younger women, the density (or thickness) of the breast tissue makes it more difficult to see a cancer on the x–ray. This can mean that more women are asked to come back for further tests.

There are fewer women diagnosed with breast cancer in this age group.

Women aged over 74 years

If you are over 74, we recommend that you discuss breast screening with your doctor to see whether it is a priority for you.

What are breast cancer risk factors?

Breast cancer risk factors include family history, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and smoking.

What can you do to reduce your risk?

All women aged 50–to 74 have a mammogram every two years. If breast cancer is detected early, women have a 98 per cent chance of survival.

Women can also reduce their risk of breast cancer by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking.

Are you a female in the 30-50 years age group? We highly recommend you get screened for breast cancer. Register yourself at to receive special breast screening offers via email.