What is Mammography
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for the examination of breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
Mammography is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Screening Mammography is used to detect diseases EVEN if you do not have any symptoms, while Diagnostic Mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal findings: like a lump in the breast, nipple discharge, or pain.
Preparation Required for the Procedure
Inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.
Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available.
Before the examination you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing above the waist and you will be given a gown or loose-fitting material that opens in the front.
Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the Radiologist.