What is mammography?
Mammogram is a medial procedure that employs a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts and give an x-ray picture of them. A mammogram is also known as a mammography exam.
Mammogram is used for early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Though mammogram does not prevent breast cancer, it can save women’s lives by helping them detect breast cancer as early as possible.
What are some common uses of the mammogram?
A mammogram is used in these cases:
- To check for early breast cancer in women with no symptoms of breast diseases
- To detect and diagnose breast diseases in women who experience symptoms such as a lump, pain, skin dimpling , nipple discharge or other signs of breast cancer
Types of mammography
Screening mammography is the type of mammogram that is used you the woman has no symptoms. In early detection of breast cancers, mammography plays a major role since it can show abnormal changes in the breast up to 2 years before the patient or doctor can feel them. Women who are from 40 years of age are recommended to take screening mammography every year, according to current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Research show that these annual mammograms help women detect breast cancers in their early stage when they are most curable. Moreover, thanks to this, women also have higher chances to keep their breasts.
As stated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), women who currently have had breast cancer as well as those with higher risk of the disease due to a family history, need to consult with their doctor about whether or not they should go for screening mammography and other types of screening (breast MRI, for example) before the age of 40.
How is a screening mammography done?
When a woman has a mammogram, she needs to stand in front of an x-ray machine. The doctor then places her breasts between two plastic plates. The plates press her breasts and make them flat. This process may be uncomfortable, but will give a clear picture. After the procedure, a report of the mammogram will come within 30 days.
This type of mammography is used to evaluate the patients after they have found abnormal signs and symptoms in their breasts. Those findings can be found by themselves or by the doctors.
Diagnostic mammography may also be perfomed following a screening mammogram if there are abnormal signs detected. This is aimed to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 23, 2017 | Last Modified: September 11, 2019