A Complete Overview of Mammography: What You Need to Know

What is Mammography?

Mammography test is also known as mastography is the way toward utilizing low-vitality X-beams for the most part around 30 kVp to inspect the human breast for diagnosis and screening.

What is the main objective of Mammography?

The objective of mammography is the early discovery of breast cancer, ordinarily through the recognition of trademark masses or microcalcifications.

Why is a Mammogram performed?

A mammogram is an X-ray imaging of the individual breast aimed at detecting tumors and other abnormalities. It can be used either for screening or for diagnostic purposes in evaluating a breast abnormality:

Screening Mammography: Screening mammography is used to detect breast changes in women who have no symptoms or signs or new breast abnormalities. The goal is to detect cancer before clinical signs are noticeable.

Diagnostic Mammography: Diagnostic mammography is used to investigate breast cancer changes such as a new breast abnormality, breast pain, an unusual skin appearance, nipple thickening, or nipple discharge. It is also used to assess abnormal findings on a screening mammogram. Diagnostic mammography requires additional X-ray images.

How is a Mammogram Performed?

The individual will stand in front of an X-ray machine. A technologist will place their breast on a clear plastic plate. Another plate will then firmly press the breast from above. The breast will be stabilized by flattening it with the clear plastic plates during the X-ray imaging process.

The individual will feel some pressure. The steps are repeated to create a side view of the breast. The second breast will undergo X-ray imaging in a similar manner. The individual will then wait while the technologist checks the four X-rays to ensure the images don’t need to be redone.

It’s important to note that the technologist cannot tell the individual the results of their mammogram. Each woman’s mammogram may look slightly different because every breast is unique.

At what Age Should Women Start Having Mammogram Tests?

Women who are at average risk for breast cancer should receive annual mammograms starting at age 45, then every other year starting at age 55. The specialists also suggest that women may choose to have mammograms as early as age 40.

Benefits of Mammography:

  • Decreases the risk of dying from breast cancer. Of the 1,000 women who undergo a mammogram every two years for 20 years, seven fatalities are averted.
  • Decreases the risk of undergoing chemotherapy. Screening often allows for the detection of diseases in their early stage of development.
  • Allows women to know the health of their breasts.

Important Things to Know About Mammograms:

  • Mammograms can save lives: Early detection of breast cancer can reduce a woman’s risk of dying from the disease by 25-30% or more. Women should start having mammograms annually at age 40 or earlier if they’re at high risk.
  • Don’t be afraid: Mammography is a quick procedure that takes about 20 minutes, and discomfort is minimal for most women. The mammogram procedure involves a minimal amount of radiation exposure and is considered safe. To relieve the anxiety of waiting for results, try to go to a center that will give you results before you leave.
  • Ensure high-quality results: If you have dense breasts or are under the age of 50, try to get a digital mammogram. A digital mammogram is recorded onto a computer so that specialists can zoom in on certain sections to look at them more closely.
  • Avoid wearing antiperspirant or deodorant to your mammogram as these can show up on the film and interfere with test results.
  • Mammography is our most powerful tool for breast cancer detection: However, mammograms can still miss 20% of breast cancer that is not visible using this method. Other important tools such as self-breast exams, clinical breast exams, and potentially ultrasound or MRI, can and should be used as complementary tools, but there are no substitutes or replacements for a mammogram.

Check out Onco-Life Cancer Center for new treatments, interventions, and tests as a means of preventing, detecting, treating, or managing this disease.