What is Mammography?
Mammography is a simple radiography picture of the breast and an instrument for the early detection of non-touchable breast cancers. Mammography can detect breast cancer ten years before it can be identified. All women forty years of age and older should do mammography every two years.
Mammography is also a method for general breast control, which is provided to all women between the ages of 40 and 74 at given time intervals. Such an examination is called screening. The purpose of this examination is to discriminate breast cancer before it can show symptoms.
How is mammography performed?
To perform a mammography the patient stands on a special x-ray machine.
A person called radiology technician places the breast between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate, these plates are attached to an X-ray machine and compresses the breast so that the breasts are flattened.
X-rays are then released in the breast tissue to create a picture of the breast.
Types of mammography
There are two types of mammography: diagnostic mammography and checkup mammography.
Mammograms that are used for checking are for women who do not have a clinical sign of cancer. The test consists of two x-rays per breast. By this method, tumors or masses that are not recognizable by touching are determined. This type of mammography is able to detect small calcium deposits in the breast, which sometimes means the possibility of breast cancer.
This test is done to screen breast cancer after breast cancer symptoms have been diagnosed. Symptoms of breast cancer include pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple secretions, or changes in breast size and shape. This mammography is performed to check for more breast changes found in the checkup mammography or to examine parts of the tissue that is difficult to see in mammography. This kind of mammography lasts longer than checkup mammograms, and more x-rays are used to examine multiple breast tissue angles. The technician can more accurately locate the suspicious area and capture more details, and this helps the gynecologist to more accurately diagnose the problem.
- For women diseases with 40 years of age for breast cancer
- Evaluation of patients with suspected breast masses
- Prevention of breast cancer treated by breast removal and radiotherapy
- Breast prevention in a person that one of her breasts has been taken out due to breast cancer
In digital mammography, x-rays are also used to create images of the breast, but in this case, the resulting image is stored directly on the computer. In this way, it’s possible to get a bigger picture of the recorded image, and so it’s more accurately checked. Recent research has not shown that digital imaging in digital mammography is better than cancer screening. But for women with dense breasts, premenopausal women or those under age 50, the result obtained by digital mammography is better.
Advantages of Digital Mammography:
- Since these images can be shared using a computer, it is possible for the patient to consult with other doctors.
- In digital mammography, the difference between normal and abnormal tissues may be easier to identify.
- In digital mammography, the number of follow-up tests may be reduced.
- Small digital images may be needed in digital mammography, and hence reduced exposure to X-rays.
Follow these tips when taking breast mammograms:
- When using mammography, do not use perfume, powder or crème or marsh swab under the armpit as it may affect the quality of the image.
- Do not perform mammography the week before your menstrual period, because the breasts are swollen and painful during this period.
- If you have breast implants, tell the technician before mammography
- Do not throw out previous mammography pictures, even if it’s natural and without any benefit, because comparing them with future mammography helps detect lesions.
- Take your previous mammograms