Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by detecting breast cancers as early as possible. A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It can also be used if you have a lump or other signs of breast cancer.
What happens during a Mammography?
When you have a mammogram, you stand in front of an x-ray machine. The person who takes the x-rays places your breast between two plastic plates. The plates press your breast and make it flat. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. If you feel any pain, please share the same with the technicians. You will have to dress from waist up for the procedure. The doctor shall recommend if you require a breast scan of both breasts or a single one only.
Benefits of Regular Mammograms:
Finding breast cancers early with mammography has also meant that many more women being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts. When caught early, localized cancers can be removed without resorting to breast removal (mastectomy).
What is Screening Mammography?
Screening mammography is the type of mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms. It can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women aging between 40 to 70. You should talk to your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of mammograms. Together, you can decide when to start and how often to have a mammogram.
What are the negatives of Mammograms?
The main risk of mammograms is that they aren’t perfect. Normal breast tissue can hide a breast cancer so that it doesn’t show up on the mammogram. This is called a false negative. And mammography can identify an abnormality that looks like a cancer, but turns out to be normal. This ‘false alarm’ is called a false positive. Mammography plays a critical part in diagnosing breast cancer. In the past, we’d often find that a woman had breast cancer when she came in with a lump. Today, the cancers radiologists can find the smaller details and the slightest abnormalities easily.
Perfect Timing For a Mammogram:
- Try not to have your mammogram the week before you get your period or during your period. Your breasts may be tender or swollen then.
- On the day of your mammogram, don’t wear deodorant, perfume, or powder. These products can show up as white spots on the X-ray.
- Some women prefer to wear a top with a skirt or pants, instead of a dress. You will need to undress from your waist up for the mammogram.