Mammography also called a mammogram is a specialized medical imaging that utilizes a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts.

Mammography or mastography is the process of using low-energy X-rays to examine the human breasts for diagnosis and treatment purposes. A mammograph is basically an x-ray of the breast. Physicians often use mammograms to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms help to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt by the patient.

How is a mammogram done?

The patient will stand in front of a special x-ray machine. The technologist will place your breast on a plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The plates will flatten the breast, holding it still while the x-ray is being taken. The patient feels some pressure. The side view is also taken after repeating the steps. Each breast gets x-rayed in the same way. The patient needs to then wait for the technologist to check x-rays to make sure pictures do not need to be redone.

What will I feel during a mammogram?

Most women describe mammogram as being uncomfortable. Some women may find it painful. It is a short procedure that only takes a few moments and the discomfort is gone soon. What you feel depends on the size of your breasts, skills of the technologist, and how much the breasts need to be pressed. Your breasts might be sensitive during or before your period. A radiologist reads the mammogram and looks for any early signs of breast cancer.

What happens if my mammogram is normal?

It is generally recommended to get repeat mammogram after every few years. Mammograms work best when they are compared with mammograms of previous year. This allows the radiologist to compare and look for any changes in the breasts.

What happens if my mammogram is abnormal?

An abnormal mammogram doesn’t always mean there is a cancer. You might need to have additional mammograms, tests, or exams before the doctor can diagnose. You will be referred to a specialist with expertise in diagnosing breast problems. Doctors will do follow-up tests to diagnose breast cancer or find that there is no cancer.

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