A mammogram is an x-ray of your breast, which is used to check if you have signs or traces of breast cancer. Doctors can recommend a mammography even if you have no symptoms, or if you have noticed a lump or other potential signs that might be an indication of cancer.
The process involves you standing in front of an x-ray machine. Your breast is placed between two plates, which press and flatten it. It might cause you some discomfort, but the resulting picture can give valuable information and lead to better diagnosis. The procedure is absolutely safe. Yes, you are exposed to radiation, but the amounts are small, and don’t harm you.
Mammograms are of two primary types: the screening mammogram and the diagnostic mammogram. The former is used for checking if you have breast cancer when no signs or symptom have appeared. In such a case, the mammogram is used to check potential abnormalities. The latter is performed if you have some problem like a lump, discharge or pain. The mammogram is then used to identify suspicious breast tissues.
Many of you may refrain from mammogram, but you should get it conducted annually, especially if you are over 40. Considering Australia alone, research expects 17,586 new cases of female breast cancer in 2017, and the early it’s diagnosed, the quicker you can recover. The survival rate is 90%, but like we said, early diagnosis is the cue. Here are the top reasons for screening mammography.
Mammography lead to early diagnosis
We’ve already mentioned this, but to emphasise again: one woman in every eight is likely to develop breast cancer once in her life. If you regularly get mammograms, the disease is diagnosed in the initial stages, during which they can easily be treated, allowing you to recover fully.
Mammography reduces mortality risk
When breast cancer is detected early, it is generally smaller, and has not spread to other parts. Contrary to this, if breast cancer is diagnosed through other means, it is usually after it has spread to other parts and reached later stages. Success depends on the location and size, and mammograms can give a good picture of the disease’s progress.
Mammography involves minimal discomfort
Mammography is a quick process and involves only a small degree of discomfort. Usually, it is finished off within 20 minutes.
Mammography detects lumps well
Generally, you won’t feel a lump until it has been two years since its development. But mammography can catch it much sooner.
Mammography is safe
A 2D mammogram exposes you to around 0.4 mSv of radiation, which is equivalent to you being exposed to sun radiation for about 7 weeks. Newer technologies are reducing this even more.
Mammography gives accurate results if
Take a bath before you go to the examination centre, and wear a two piece outfit so that you can easily take off your blouse. You would have to wear a hospital gown when the procedure is carried out. Don’t wear any perfume, jewellery, powder, deodorant or lotion, so that the results are more accurate.