Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer.
It is recommended that women with no risk factors for breast cancer have screening mammography’s every 2 years between age 50 and 74. Those with high risk factors (Family history of Breast cancer) require screening mammogram every 2 years after 35 years of age.
At this time, mammography along with physical breast examination is the modality of choice for screening for early breast cancer. Ultrasound is typically used for further evaluation of masses found on mammography or palpable masses not seen on mammograms.
Sonography of breast (sonomammography) is more useful than x ray mammography in young female patients in the reproductive age group as dense glandular breast do not allow detection of abnormality on x ray mammogram, sonography is also better in patients where a lump is already palpable as it allows characterization of the mass.
Imaging of the breast improves a physician’s ability to detect small tumors. When cancers are small, the woman has more treatment options and a cure is more likely.
The use of screening mammography increases the detection of small abnormal tissue growths confined to the milk ducts in the breast, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These early tumors cannot harm patients if they are removed at this stage and mammography is the only proven method to reliably detect these tumors. It is also useful for detecting all types of breast cancer.
No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
X-rays usually have no side effects in the diagnostic range.
Advice to patient before Mammography:
You MUST bring a copy of your last imaging study with you. Do not use any deodorant, perfume, powder, ointment, or any other skin products on your chest, breast, or under arms on the day of the study. To achieve diagnostic images of the breast, the breast must be firmly compressed. Most women find this compression acceptable. If you experience pain in your breasts then we suggest that you schedule your appointment when your breasts are the least sensitive (usually following the menstrual period).