Mammography is needed to detect breast cancer. If you are suspected of breast cancer and you see any kind of tightening or lump in your breasts, then you should get mammography done immediately.
There is no pain during this procedure. So let’s know about this process in detail –
What is Mammography
Mammograms are an important part of early diagnosis of breast cancer, along with routine medical examination.
After age 40 or even earlier, if you are at risk for breast cancer, you should have a mammogram every year.
If there is a personal or family history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may start screening before age 40 or use additional diagnostic methods. Talk to your doctor about the causes of the danger.
If your doctor prescribes a mammogram as a routine test to check for any cancers or changes, it is called a screening mammogram.
If you have a lump in your breast or any other symptoms of breast cancer, your doctor will order a diagnostic mammogram.
You will need to follow some guidelines on the day of the mammogram –
- You cannot apply deodorant, body powder or perfume. Also, you should not apply any ointment or cream to your breasts or underarms. These substances may discolor X-ray pictures.
- If you are pregnant or are likely to become pregnant, tell your doctor before the test.
Mammography is usually done in the X-ray department of a hospital. During this, you have to follow many guidelines.
So let’s know about them –
- You have to take off your clothes above your waist. You will be given a gown made of paper to wear.
- You will be asked to stand near the machine.
- At least two X-rays will be taken of each breast.
- The person doing the test will need to touch and move your breasts to choose the right location for the X-ray.
- Tiny adhesive dots may be placed on your nipples so that your nipples can be seen on an X-ray.
- Your breast is pressed between two flat surfaces. This may hurt you for a while but it will not harm your breasts.
- You will be asked to take a deep breath and hold your breath until the X-ray is taken.
- It takes less than 30 seconds to take an X-ray.
- If you have had a breast implant, more X-rays will need to be done and the test will take longer.
- Test results will be sent to your doctor.
What are the risks of Mammography
As with any type of X-ray, there is a risk of exposure to very small amounts of radiation during a mammogram.
If you are pregnant and need a mammogram before your delivery date, you will usually be given a lead apron during this procedure to avoid harm to your baby.
Result and Normal Score
Images from a mammogram can help find lumps, or calcium deposits, in your breasts.
The test can also find cysts – fluid-filled clots that come and go normally during some women’s menstrual cycles.
Here the mammogram is a national diagnostic system called BI-RADS or Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System. There are seven categories in this system ranging from zero to six.
Each category describes whether additional pictures are necessary and whether an area is more likely to be a benign (cancerous) or cancerous lump.
Score 0: Another mammogram may be needed if the test scores zero.
Score 1: A test score of 1 means that there is no abnormality in the image. In such a situation, it is advisable to continue with routine screening.
Score 2: A score of two on the test is indicative of cyst-like conditions. In such a situation, it is advisable to continue with routine screening.
Score 3: A test score of three indicates some abnormalities. However, it is not cancer. In this situation, it is advisable to have another mammogram within 6 months.
Score 4: A test score of four is a sign of some abnormality, it could also be cancer. In this situation, a biopsy may be needed.
Score 5: A test score of five is a clear sign of abnormalities, which may indicate confirmation of cancer. In such a situation, a biopsy is recommended.