Mammography is a method to detect breast
cancer. It is a type of X-ray, but done with special machines. Mammography is
advised in case of high risk factor patients or to all women over the age of
Mammography is also known as
mammogram. It is a kind of an X-ray which helps to detect breast
cancer even before women start experiencing the symptoms, which is
the phase when it is most curable. Therefore, it helps in early detection and
early intervention thereby improving the chances of survival to a greater
What is and how is it
Mammography is a
mammography method of studying the breast with the help of X-rays. It
is similar to taking X-rays of the chest or other areas. The
difference is that a special, dedicated machine is required. Note
that not all places that perform X-rays, can perform mammograms.
During a mammogram, the breast is placed in a special holder, compressed and
then X-rayed. Although there is mild discomfort, it is
Why should mammography be
The only way to reliably
detect breast cancer before it is palpable is by mammography. If this
disease is detected early, it is less likely for the cancer to have
spread. Local resection may be enough for treatment and the whole
breast may not need to be removed. This also improves survival and
When should mammography be
All women over the age of 40 should have
annual mammograms, irrespective of whether they have a breast
problem. More importantly, mammography should be performed regularly
on an annual basis. Mammography is also performed when there are
symptoms related to the breast such as lumps, nipple discharge, pain,
etc. Apart from this, if you have a first-degree relative (mother or
sister) who has breast cancer, your risk of getting breast cancer is
considerably higher. In this situation, an annual mammogram is
Is any preparation required before taking a
No preparation is required, but it is
advisable to wear loose clothing and not to apply anything to the
are the advantages of doing
Let us take a quick look
at the advantages of doing
It can detect breast cancer at
early stages even before the symptoms are observed.
Mammography can efficiently detect
all types of cancers like invasive lobular cancer and invasive ductal
It is free from any side effects.
Radiations do not stay in the
patientâ€™s body after the X-ray is taken.
It is also capable of detecting
small abnormal tumours growing in the milk ducts. Removal of these tumours may
help to prevent the cancer from spreading at early stage. Also, removal of such
tumours is safe for the
Can mammography be done during
can help to detect breast cancer, it is must to inform the doctor if the
patient is pregnant. Exposure to X-ray radiations is not safe during pregnancy.
But as per American Cancer Society, if the symptoms of breast cancer are
detected during pregnancy, mammography can be done provided that extra
precautions are taken. For primary examination of the symptoms, ultrasound can
be performed before mammography is done. Ultrasound is relatively safer to
check the symptoms.
In case if mammography cannot be
avoided at all during pregnancy, it is necessary to make sure that the
radiations do not pass through the other parts of the body. Covering the belly
with lead shield is preferable to prevent the radiations from passing through
it. In case if the symptoms
of breast cancer are not observed, it advisable to avoid undergoing
mammography during pregnancy.
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