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Am I too young for a mammogram?
My mom has breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer, my Grandma has precancerous cyst's/tissue. My breast's are huge and very dense, as proven from an earlier mammogram. I am 25 years old, and my doctor sent me to the breast center for a mammogram. They turned me away, and actually humiliated me in the process.
Stating, that my aunt has to genial connection to my breast's, I am to come back 10 years before the age my mom was diagnosed at, and that I should have no concern for breast cancer for awhile.
WTF is that about? My doctor sent me there, I am at high-risk for breast cancer, my family history, my dense and painful breast's, my 7 years on birth control. I am so humiliated and insulted!

You have to be preventative, and after learning my lesson the hard way. What I thought was just an irregular spot on my forehead, ended up being basal cell carcinoma, SKIN CANCER. Of course, I'm going to be careful with my health! I can't take another life shocker!!!!
Additional Details
My doctor talked to one of the head doctors at the breast center/hospital, and they said send her back with the coding for high-risk patient. I can't do it. Infact, I feel stupid for ever going at all. I want to forget about it :( But, your words are making me feel alittle better! Thanks!

John Reid
Go see a lawyer. One of your rights as a patient is to be treated with respect, and NOT humiliated.
Your doctor was right in sending you there. They were very wrong in refusing you.
BTW, You may wish to consider having a reduction mammoplasty.

Reading this makes me furious at the breast center you went to. If your doctor feels you need a mammogram and sent you there fror one they should do it!! Of course they ask questions, but if they listened to your answers they would see you would be at high risk, I'd surely complain to my doctor and tell him to send me somewhere else. Or I'd find somewhere else myself to go.

The fact they said to come back ten years before the age your mother was diagnosed with her cancer is preposterous. My mother is 88 and was dx w/ breast cancer at 87, so does that mean I should not go for a mammogram until I am 77? THINK NOT! BTW I am 67 and have been having regular mammos since in my 30's because of cystic breasts.

I surely would go to another radiology place even if my doctor would send me back there with some gripe from him. I wouldn't trust them after what you just went through, good luck to you!

Your never too young when there is a question in the air about your health. I hope you can get your test soon.

First, it is very disappointing that the centre turned you away and treated you rudely. Legitimate concerns over health should NEVER be made to feel unrealistic - that one part of the reason why some people leave things too late. Try your best not to feel humiliated - remember that their behaviour was inappropriate and NOT yours. (THEY, in fact, should be humiliated.)

The second and critical point is that either the breast cancer centre, or your doctor should take a good history of all the cancers in yourself and your family, as well as the age in which they were diagnosed. If both your mother and her sister were under the age of 50 or there is also a history of ovarian cancer in your family, you should probably receive genetic screening for the " breast-cancer genes" (BRCA1 and BRCA2). If you are found to have this gene, or are at very high risk of breast cancer, it may be useful to try to get ultrasounds or MRIs of your breasts, as mammograms are less accurate in young people and individuals with dense breasts.

Despite the fact that basal cell skin cancers are very common and rarely serious, you are, in fact VERY young to already have had one, it this is worthy of very close follow-up.

Know that if both your mother and aunt were diagnosed with breast cancer above age 60, then your risk before you are 40-50 years old is very low.

Good luck. And never be embarrassed to ask questions or get information about your health.

I am 24 and my mom has breast cancer as well (stage IIIA) and I REALLY want to go get checked... just once... and then wait until the recommended "10 years before your mom found out" just for my own peice of mind. My mom never had a lump she could feel from the outside... and when she had mammograms her breasts were so dense they kept telling her it was just a "shadow" so I guess I am extra paraniod because I thought I could find it just by self exams... (Which is mostly true and the doc said it was rare to not be able to feel it from the outside especially when you are stage IIIA) I wasnt sure what you were trying to say about the birthcontrol.. but I assume you know you best be off of that because of the increase of estrogen increases breast cancer...? (I was going to go on it because I am married but now I cant AND I am allergic to latex so my birth contol method I say is prayer haha) I REALLY REALLY want to go get a mammogram BUT I dont think my insurance will cover it... I am worried, frustrated, heartbroken, and angry all in one. PLEASE fight to do what you think is best for your body dont let anyone humilate you! I am sooo tired of rude doctors ( my mom has had TONS of them and infact she wanted both her breasts removed and did not want reconstruction and the doc told her to only remove one and leave room for reconstruction and she said no... but when it came time for the surgery... he only removed one and left room for reconstruction! mom was soooo upset! And had to have another surgey to remove the other breasts which they found out in the pathology report had cancer too!! ) Best of luck to you!

I am a mammographer.

Many places, including my employer, screen patients before scheduling them for mammograms. If the patient is asymptomatic and under 40 years old, there must be a medical indication for the mammogram to be done. One is a significant family member (grandmom, mother, sister, not aunt) being diagnosed with breast cancer up to 10 years older than the patient's current age.

Don't be angry at the breast center personnel. They were doing their job. If you have a complaint, then write a letter to the manager of the group. They really do care about what patients think. Trust me...I got raked over the coals by my boss for simply questioning a patient about her age, and I did not turn her away.

Honestly, the "catch rate" for someone your age in mammography is very small (I read <40%). That means over half of breast cancer in someone under 30 is actually never seen! It is the density within the breast that breaks down as you become older and have babies, etc.

Self examination is the gold standard for diagnosing breast cancer in the woman under 40 years old.

Ultrasound can be used to see if a palpable lump is suspicious or not.

I hope this helps.

There is absolutely no excuse for you to be treated the way you were. You have nothing to be humiliated over. They are the ones who should feel humiliated for being so unprofessional and rude. I don’t blame you for being upset. If it were me, I wouldn’t go back there. I don’t know where you live, bur I doubt they are the only people around that can do radiological exams.

To answer your question, yes you are too young for a mammogram. When we ar young our breast tissue tends to be dense, but that slowly changes as we age (Like many other things unfortunately). It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see anything at all using mammography on dense breasts. Ultrasound and MRI is much better in this situation. Your doctor should know this, but what disturbs me more is a radiologist would tell him to just add a comment to his order! Another reason I would not go back there.

The reasoning behind telling you to come back 10 years before the age your mom was diagnosed at, is that is the standard for screening exams, unless you reach 40 first. Also, unless you are leaving something out, you are not at a high risk for breast cancer. I am not sure where that is coming from.

The size or density of the breasts, breast pain and birth control are not risk factors and your family history has little meaning as far as risk factors go, unless they were both young when diagnosed. Even then to place you as a high risk they would both need to be first degree relatives. About 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of it and about 5% of all breast cancers are hereditary. If your doctor has not explained this to you I think you should get a second opinion or at least speak to your mom’s oncologist about it. Unless there is something really putting you at a high risk I see no benefit in exposing yourself to years of extra radiation.

While the attitude of the centre you attended was wrong, I can understand why they said you were too young for a mammogram, and your Dr was in error not being more specific.

Under the age of 40, most women have dense breast tissue, which when subjected to mammograms produce indeterminant results.

At your age, you would be much better off having an ultrasound examination of your breasts as this can detec tumours even in dense breast tissue.

The medical center owes you an apology! I too have a history of breast cancer in my family. My sister was diagnosed 16 years ago when she was in her mid 30's my aunt has had it and I have had it. It is not unheard of for women in their 20's to get it. You are right to be proactive about your health, however because as you mention that you have dense breasts, it might be prudent to ask your dr. to amend your referral to include ultrasound or MRI.

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