Screening for breast cancer

Screening for breast cancer can be a confusing process and it's a disease that impacts so many. This year alone, close to 240,000 women in the united states are expected to be diagnosed -- one out of eight women will develop breast cancer.

Dr. Laurie Margolies, of the Dubin Breast Center at the Mount Sinai Hospital, says early detection is key. a yearly mammogram has been the gold standard, she says, that has been proven to save women's lives.

But there are many conflicting reports when it comes to screening and exactly when women should get their first mammogram.

"If we look at all people who were diagnosed with breast cancer between age 40 and 50, about six out of 10 don't have a family history -- they are not high risk," Margolies says. "To me, that's a very alarming number. Most people develop cancer in their 40s aren't 'high risk.'"

Doctors say technology continues to improve. It is better than it was five years ago. A woman can get a mammogram and have her results on the spot.

"Now we also have 3D mammography -- where people that have dense breast, overlapping tissue -- we can find those cancers that might be masked by tissue," Margolies says. "Screening breast ultrasound, where for people who have dense breast we use a totally different way looking at the breast and finding cancers that we would not have seen, even five, 10 years ago."

For highest risk patients, an MRI is an option.