A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast to check for breast cancer. Mammograms can help find breast cancer early, before it spreads to other parts of the body — and when it may be easier to treat. Anyone who has breasts can get breast cancer. That includes cisgender women (women assigned female at birth), transgender men, and nonbinary people assigned female at birth.

Get a mammogram every 2 years if you’re age 40 to 74 years and have breasts. If you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, your doctor may recommend that you start getting mammograms at a younger age or that you get them more often.

Use the questions below to start a conversation with your doctor about mammograms. Together, you and your doctor can decide what’s best for you.

What do I ask the doctor?

When you visit the doctor, it helps to have questions ready ahead of time. You may also want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes. 

Consider taking this list of questions with you to your next appointment.

  • Do I have any risk factors that raise my chances of getting breast cancer? If so, do I need to be screened earlier or more often?
  • What will happen when I go to get a mammogram?
  • How long will it take to get the results of my mammogram?
  • If I don’t hear back about the results of my mammogram, does that mean everything’s okay?
  • What are the benefits and risks of getting a mammogram? What does this mean for me?
  • Is there anything I can do to lower my risk of breast cancer?
  • When should I stop having mammograms?