Those with a high risk of breast cancer should be screened with a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, typically beginning at age 30. This includes people who:
● Have a family history of breast cancer
● Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (through a genetic test)
● Have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
● Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between 10 and 30 years old
● Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with any of these syndromes.
Black women may also want to consider earlier screenings since they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age with triple-negative breast cancer, a rarer form of breast cancer that does not respond to hormonal treatment.
People with dense breasts, in which there is more fibrous or glandular tissue than there is fat in the breasts, should also consider earlier screenings. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women with dense breasts have a higher risk of getting breast cancer . Scientists don’t know for sure why this is true, but thorough screening remains important. “Density makes the usual imaging detection harder to find a mass or abnormality,” says Dr. Sun. “A breast ultrasound in addition to a mammogram is a good idea.”