Mammography is an examination of the breast. Specifically, it is an X-ray report of breasts that helps detect breast cancer in a woman. Also known as a mammogram, the procedure is very useful in diagnosing breast cancer in early stage.
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. At an estimate, 230,000 new cases of breast cancer are registered in the United States every year. The number of deaths because of breast cancer is 43, 984. However, in India, the situation is even more shocking. Approximately 70,000 women die from breast cancer each year in India.
Women above 30 years are also at risk of breast cancer. At 40 years and above we recommend mammography every year. The family history of breast cancer must be shown with your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended mammography, multiple X-ray images of each your breast will be taken. Lump in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer. In case you have implants, special diagnostics are needed to evaluate the risk.
Going for Mammography? Follow these guidelines to avoid delays and confusions –
- Do not wear deodorant, perfume, talcum powder
- Do not wear a necklace and watch during the test
- Do not apply any cosmetic cream on your breasts
- Do not carry mobile phone inside the screening room
For pregnant or breastfeeding women, this procedure should be performed carefully. If either is your case, you should tell your doctor and the diagnostic staff about this. Ultrasound can be considered for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The diagnostic device requires you to place your breasts on an X-ray plate. The technician might help you in this process. Once done, a compressor will press down your breasts to flatten them evenly on the plates. This is painful/uncomfortable and important at the same time. Doing so provides a clear image of the breasts. The technician will ask you to hold your breath while the X-ray images are being taken. To corroborate the imaging findings, doctor might ask the radiologist to revise the procedure or recommend additional diagnostic procedures.
Risks associated with Mammography:
Undergoing X-ray imaging test exposes you to a certain amount of radiation. However, the amount of radiation is very low. Generally, there are no serious side-effects for one or two X-ray imaging sessions.