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Women's Health Topics..

You are here : home > Women's Health > Breast Cancer > Mammography



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 40.

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 extent.

What is and how is it performed?

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 momentary.

Why should mammography be done?

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 prognosis.

When should mammography be done?

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 mandatory.

Is any preparation required before taking a mammogram?

No preparation is required, but it is advisable to wear loose clothing and not to apply anything to the breasts.

What are the advantages of doing mammography?

Let us take a quick look at the advantages of doing mammography.
  • It can detect breast cancer at early stages even before the symptoms are observed.

  • Detection of breast cancer at early stages makes it even easier to treat and cure it.

  • Mammography can efficiently detect all types of cancers like invasive lobular cancer and invasive ductal cancer.

  • It is free from any side effects.

  • Radiations do not stay in the patient’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 patients.

Can mammography be done during pregnancy?

Although, mammography 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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Meenakshi.10 years ago
breast cancer is very common these days. its very important to go for regualr checkups to avoid it or atleast diagnose it in its first stage itself.
Michelle.10 years ago
breast cancer isn't anything to joke about my mother had it and it wasn't very pretty. breast cancer is very common and if you go get checkups on it and to see if you have it you should be fine.
Shea.10 years ago
i'm doing a report on breast cancer for my sixth grade class and so far on my reaserch it's a very sirious case.
ashley.10 years ago
you can die from it.
Jo Jo
Jo Jo.10 years ago
its funny
Sharon.10 years ago
it is very important to get a second or even a third opion.i had my brest removed several years ago. the doctor said that my lump had cancer tenducies. so he said the best thing to do was to have my breast removed. and to have kemo as well. at the time i was going through a seperation and was confused and frightened. but it all was done and after all the test came back it was determaned that i didn't have cancer. so make sure you have many oppinions.
babitha.10 years ago
i have a daughter who is 3 yrs old.i breast feeded her for 7 months.but there is still some milk secretion in my breasts.will i get cancer
fiza.10 years ago
breast cancer very dangerous. from it you can die. you must get checkups to avoid it.
plunko.10 years ago
it herts
gita.10 years ago
i was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago at the age of 37. i am doing fine thanks to god and early detection. so please get screened. it really saves lives.
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