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Mammography: what it is and what it is for

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

mammogram is a variety of specialized medical images used to see inside the breast using an X-ray. Its purpose is to detect any changes in the breast, helping diagnose breast diseases. There are two types of mammograms, exploration and diagnostic, the second being used in the presence of an abnormal clinical result. This medical test is used to detect breast cancer, and an early diagnosis increases the chances of being able to fight it successfully. At FastlyHealwe, explain what this well-known and essential diagnostic method is and what it is for.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray that allows the breasts to be examined for signs of cancer in its early stages. Considering the current incidence of this type of cancer, mammography has become a widely used diagnostic method since it allows for detecting this alteration long before the tumor is palpable. It is vitally vital to see breast cancer in time since, in this way, it can be treated as soon as possible, preventing possible complications and metastasis.

What is it for and when to have a mammogram

As we already know, mammography is carried out to examine a woman’s breast and is used to detect possible breast cancer, but when to have a mammogram?

It is advisable to have a mammogram every two years starting at age 50. However, you must advance the performance of this diagnostic test in the following situations:

  • You have a palpable nodule in the breast or the armpit area
  • You have back pain located between the shoulder blades or scapulae.
  • You have pain in your breasts for an extended period, or that does not correspond to your period.
  • You notice any change in the size or shape of your breasts.
  • You expel fluid from your nipples.
  • There is a history of breast cancer in your family.

At the slightest symptom you suffer, make a visit to the doctor for a check-up and, if necessary, a mammogram to rule out any problem.

How it is performed

Mammography is carried out following this procedure:

  1. You will stand in front of a particular X-ray machine.
  2. The laboratory’s technical staff will support one of your breasts on a transparent plastic plate, and then they will cover the breast with another plate and press. The leaves need to flatten the breast during the mammogram.
  3. The same steps will be repeated to do the mammogram of the other breast.
  4. The laboratory staff will verify that the four plates have come out correctly without being able to comment on the results.
  5. The results will reach the radiologist days later, and he will be the one who will review the X-ray plates, looking for possible alterations in them.

Mammogram results

When the specialist doctor examines the plates obtained after the mammogram, there are two possibilities :

  • If the results are expected, in this case, you should continue doing routine mammograms. Also, if you have already undergone this method several times, it is instrumental in comparing with previous mammograms to detect any variation in the breasts.
  • The results are not expected, and some alteration appears, either a clear, regular, and well-defined spot, a mass or tumor, or calcifications caused by calcium deposits in the breast tissue. These signs do not indicate breast cancer, but they are a sign that further tests are needed to find their cause. Therefore, in this case, additional tests are required, the most commonly used being:
  • Additional diagnostic mammograms, amplification or compression calls
  • Breast ultrasound
  • MRI of the breasts

Previous advice

If you are pending to have a mammogram, you should take into account the following points :

  • Do not go when you have your period or when it is only a week away since the breasts are more swollen and sensitive.
  • Don’t use deodorant or perfume before testing, as they could show up as white spots on the X-ray.
  • Bring comfortable clothing to the medical center where your mammogram will be performed. You must bear in mind that you will have to uncover your torso.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Mammography: what it is and what it is for, we recommend that you enter our medication and medical tests category.

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