Are Mammograms Necessary for Women Under 40?

Kelly Anne Spratt, D.O., Director of Women's Cardiovascular Health at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center, answers your questions.

Q. I am 32 years old and have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for five years. I had my baseline mammogram three months ago. My doctor told me I need to repeat the test in six months because they found a lump, and because it was on my baseline mammogram, they wait to do the follow-up. Breast cancer runs in my family. Should I be worried?

A. My bet is that any abnormality is due to your younger, denser breast tissue. One of the problems with having a baseline mammogram at an early age (younger than 40) is that the breast tissue is quite dense and therefore, much more difficult to read. Often, the dense tissue can resemble abnormal tissue.

This is a common problem (it happened to my sister) and the best strategy is, as your doctor recommends, to repeat the test in a few months. There is nothing at this point to worry about, and I would relax until your next mammogram.


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