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Earlier Breast Cancer Screenings May Help Some Live Longer

 

We all know that we should perform a monthly self-breast exam, but now a new study is saying that some women should do more than that, even in their younger years. Published in the journal Cancer, researchers have found that women who carry a genetic mutation linked to a higher risk of cancer should start breast-cancer screening as early as age 25. 

In the computer-model study, researchers looked at women ages 25, 30, 35 and 40 years old to see if mammograms or MRIs were effective in helping those who carry the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2 to live longer. These two gene mutations are known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Compared with no screening at all, researchers found that women who started getting annual mammograms or MRIs at age 25 lived an average of 1.3 to 1.8 years longer. For those who got an MRI every six months, life was extended by 1.5 to 1.7 years. 

It's important to note that this study was done with a computer model and not on real women. Additionally, the increase in testing makes it more likely that women get false-positive breast cancer screenings, along with additional radiation from the tests. So there are some pros and cons. 

Most health professionals recommend breast cancer screening for all women beginning at age 50, and the American Cancer Society recommends screening at age 30 for those with the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2. We say talk to your doctor about what's best for you.
At what age do you plan to get a mammogram or MRI?

 

Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.

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