Mammography X-Ray Test
Mammography is the process of using low-dose X-rays (usually around 0.7 mSv) to examine the human breast. It is used to look for different types of tumors and cysts. Only mammography has been proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer. In some countries routine (annual to five-yearly) mammography of older women is encouraged as a screening method to diagnose early breast cancer.
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At this stage mammography is still the modality of choice for screening of early breast cancer. It is the gold-standard for other imaging methods such as ultrasound and NMR-tomography. CT has no real role in diagnosing breast cancer at the present. Ultrasound is useful as an adjunct to mammography in some cases, as is Magnetic resonance imaging, but neither should be used as a screening method. Only Mammography has been proven useful for screening.
* A screening mammogram is essential to early diagnosis of breast cancer. An annual screening mammogram is recommended for all women over the age of 40.
* A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal findings on an exam or the screening mammogram. This is done with an attending radiologist (physician) who specializes in mammography.
Before your mammogram* Schedule your mammogram for the week after your menstrual period.
* Do not wear deodorant or powder.
* Let the technologist know of any breast symptoms or if you have breast implants.
* Bring any prior mammogram films with you.
* Let the technologist know if there is a possibility you are pregnant.
It is similar to taking X-rays of the chest or any other X-rays. However, a special dedicated machine with a special X-ray tube is required for doing mammography. There are compression paddles which compress the breast and then X-rays are taken. Usually, two views of each breast are performed, with a total of four X-ray films per patient.