Breast Imaging for Cancer Screening in Women of Average Risk

Dec 31, 2020


Welcome to the informational page about breast imaging for cancer screening in women of average risk, provided by Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine. We prioritize your health and well-being by offering comprehensive services in the field of healthcare.

Why is Breast Imaging Important?

Breast imaging is a vital tool in the early detection and prevention of breast cancer. Regular screenings enable healthcare providers to identify potential issues at an early stage when treatment is most effective.

Understanding Average Risk

When it comes to breast cancer, the term "average risk" refers to women who do not have any significant known risk factors, such as an immediate family history of breast cancer, specific genetic mutations, or prior radiation therapy to the chest. It is important for women in this category to still undergo regular screenings as per recommended guidelines.

The Role of Breast Imaging

Breast imaging encompasses various diagnostic procedures designed to identify abnormalities or potential cancerous growth within the breast tissue. The most common breast imaging techniques for cancer screening in women of average risk include:

1. Mammography

Mammography is the gold standard for breast cancer screening. It uses low-dose X-rays to capture detailed images of the breast tissue. This non-invasive procedure helps detect breast abnormalities, including small lumps, before they can be felt. Regular mammograms significantly increase the chances of detecting breast cancer at an early stage.

2. Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging utilizes high-frequency sound waves to create images of the breast tissue. It is often used as a supplementary tool along with mammography for further evaluation of suspicious findings or in women with dense breast tissue. Ultrasound can provide valuable additional information to ensure a more accurate diagnosis.

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of the breast. It is primarily employed for high-risk patients or in cases where further clarification is required following abnormal mammogram or ultrasound results. MRI can help detect breast cancer that may be missed by other imaging modalities.

When should Women of Average Risk Start Breast Imaging?

The American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of developing breast cancer should start getting regular mammograms at the age of 40. However, it's crucial to have a discussion with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening plan based on your individual circumstances.

Frequency of Breast Imaging

The frequency of breast imaging screenings may vary depending on various factors including age, overall health, and personal medical history. However, as a general guideline, women should typically undergo mammograms once every one to two years. It is important to follow the guidance provided by your healthcare provider.


Regular breast imaging is an essential aspect of overall health maintenance for women of average risk. By detecting breast cancer at its earliest stages, the chances of successful treatment and long-term survival are significantly improved. At Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine, we are committed to providing comprehensive services to promote the well-being of our patients in the field of healthcare.