Mammography is the single most effective way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.
Early detection improves survival and increases treatment options.
The risk of breast cancer increases as women age. The American Cancer Society recommends routine screening mammography should begin at age 40. Some physicians advocate screening beginning at a younger age for women with certain risk factors. Screening should continue throughout a woman’s lifetime. Once is not enough.
Mammography assists in the early detection of breast cancer by incorporating modern electronics and
computers into x-ray mammography methods. Instead of acquiring an image on film, the image is collected electronically and can be stored directly into a computer.
The mammogram is performed by compressing the breast between two small plates for just a few
seconds-just long enough for the technologist to take the digital image. Compressing the breast
decreases the radiation dose and provides a clearer picture.
Women should avoid the use of powders and deodorants on the day of the exam. These products can
cause a false positive reading on your mammogram.
Sometimes it is necessary to get additional mammographic images or an ultrasound so that certain areas can be better evaluated. Do not be alarmed if you get called back for additional views. Most often the work-up will demonstrate that the findings are benign (not cancer).
If you are having a mammogram to investigate a breast symptom that you have discussed with your
physician, such as a palpable lump or nipple discharge, the mammogram is considered a diagnostic study. Diagnostic mammograms will be reviewed by the radiologist at the time of the exam.