Greater Grand Rapids:
Muskegon & the Lakeshore:

When Should I Get a Mammogram?

For all women, Mercy Health recommends:

  • Regular monthly breast checks through self-exam
  • An annual breast exam by a primary care provider
  • A routine yearly mammogram beginning at age 40* or 10 years younger than the youngest cancer in the family (i.e., if your mother had breast cancer at age 45, then you need to be checked and screened at age 35)

Women should know their family history, in particular if multiple family members have had breast cancer, if family members had breast cancer at a young age (under 45–50), and if there is breast and ovarian cancer on the same side of the family.

*In close alignment with the Society of Breast Imaging and the American College of Radiology, Mercy Health continues to support annual breast cancer screenings for women beginning at the age of 40. Early detection of breast cancer has been proven to reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer. Approximately 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 50. Unfortunately, younger women can also develop more aggressive breast cancers, which is why early detection is so important.

While the concerns of overdiagnosis, false positives from screening examinations, and patient anxiety are real, Mercy Health continues to strive to improve its ability to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage, when it's most curable. A woman can consider additional screening to decrease the risk of false positives, particularly younger women who commonly have dense breasts, for a more accurate evaluation. Each woman should talk with her doctor to understand her individual risk factors and make an informed decision about the timing and frequency of screenings.

Learn More

Learn more about the difference between screening and diagnostic mammograms, when you should start getting regular mammograms and more in this WZZM TV 13 “Friends for Life” segment featuring Mary Herman, RN, one of our our Breast Health Navigators.

The importance of annual mammograms with our expert Dr. Jennifer Rollenhagen in this WZZM TV 13 "Friends for Life segment > 

Does it hurt? How long will it take? Our mammography technician answers common questions about mammograms in this WZZM TV 13 "Friends for Life" segment >

Watch “The Myths of Mammography” with Dr. Jessica Keto featured on WZZM TV 13 >

You can also learn more about mammography on the National Cancer Institutes website or the American College of Radiology website.

Mammography Saves Lives 


News Release >

Website >

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