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LifeBridge Health Dr. Dona Hobart talks to WJZ’s Nicole Baker about breast cancer prevention and how and when women should get screened.

You can also learn more and register for the Nov. 12 Mammothon here. 

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Nicole Baker: When should women be getting their first mammogram?

Dr. Hobart: Usually if you don’t have any other risk factors in your family, you would start screening at 40. It gets confusing because this society says this and this society says something different, stick with 4 — if you don’t have any risk factors. If you have risk factors in your family, if somebody had breast cancer or even some other kinds of cancers, [it] will give you an increased risk of breast cancer and you might want to start screening earlier. My real advice is to talk to your medical professional about when.

Baker: Does the size of breast matter when it comes to when you should get your mammogram? Should women with a denser amount of breast tissue or larger breast tissue, where it may be harder to detect for self checks, should they be going earlier or should only be for rescue people who are at risk?

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Dr. Hobart: [It’s] really only for people who are at risk now. There is an increased risk with dense breast tissue, but actually that tends to occur more in the small breasts of women than the large-breasted women large breasts and women tend to have more fatty tissue, which is actually makes mammograms, easier to read. So really it’s not based on breast size, it’s really your other risk factors.

Baker: We talked about the risk of cancer in families what are some of the other health risk factors that women should be looking for when they’re thinking about going into a mammogram?

Dr. Hobart: Interestingly enough, one of the largest risk factors relates to obesity. And so everybody points to the headaches and my family history or, you know, we can talk about radiation exposure and things like that, but every day risk. The best way to decrease your risk of breast cancer is to stay at a healthy weight, eat healthy and exercise.

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