Mammography

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A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breasts. It is used to find tumors and to help tell the difference between noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) disease.What is mammography?

Mammography means imaging of the breast with the help of X-rays.

How is it performed?

It is similar to taking chest X-rays or any other X-rays. However, a special dedicated machine with a special X-ray tube is required for doing mammography. There are compression paddles which compress the breast and then X-rays are taken. Usually, two views of each breast are performed, with a total of four X-ray films per patient.

When should it be done?

Mammography is performed for screening for breast cancer. In patients with lumps in their breasts, mammography helps in the diagnosis of the lump, i.e. whether it is benign or cancerous, so that they can commence chemotherapy for breast cancer or consider other breast cancer treatment options.

Is it painful to undergo a mammography?

No. It might just give a split-second discomfort when the breast is slightly compressed. Moreover, this machine has a special soft-touch compression which slows down as soon as the paddle reaches the breast.

Is there any risk of radiation to the breast during mammography?

The radiation doses are very low and practically, there is no such risk. However, it should not be performed on pregnant women unless strongly indicated clinically and that too, with adequate precautions.

How to prepare for the test ?

Do not wear deodorant, perfume, powders, or ointments under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the mammogram. These substances may obscure the images. Remove all jewelry from your neck and chest area.

Tell your health care provider and the radiologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What is Breast Self-Examination?

Breast Self-Examination or BSE is palpation of the breast by women with their own fingers to look-out for lumps. A pamphlet is provided for the same to help you practice BSE.