Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women of all races, and the leading cause of cancer death among women.

The Illinois State Medical Society recommends that physicians and patients continue to follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society regarding screening mammography and patient breast self-examination.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines recommend:

  • Women age 45 to 54 should have a mammogram every year.
  • Women 55 and older should have a mammogram every two years.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and expected to live 10 more years or longer.
  • Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
  • Breast self-examination (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.

In addition, to assist in discussing recommended preventive care with patients, The American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have developed health cards for men and women that indicate which tests are recommended for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Kits with these cards are available for free to physician’s practices. To order a kit for your practice, email

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