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A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breasts. Screening mammograms test help improve the detection of early breast cancer, when it is more likely to be curable. Together with regular clinical exams and monthly breast self-examinations, mammograms are a key element in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Mammography is performed to screen healthy women for signs of breast cancer. It is also used to evaluate a woman who has symptoms of breast disease, such as a lump, nipple discharge, breast pain, dimpling of the skin on the breast, or retraction of the nipple.
A mammogram is simple and straightforward. The screening takes no longer than 20 minutes. No prescription is necessary for a screening. Upon arrival, you have to register and fill up form for personal and family health history.
We will give you instructions on how to prepare for your CT scan. On the day of the test, you should
- Avoid eating for four hours before your test. You can drink water.
- Ask your doctor if you should take your regular medicines before the CT scan.
- If you are a pregnant woman, then you should inform your doctor and x-ray technician as the radiations may affect the foetus. If needed, precautions can be taken to lower the radiation exposure to the foetus.
- If a lactating, or breastfeeding, if the patient needs an iodinated intravenous dye for contrast agent, she should avoid breastfeeding for about 24 hours as it may pass into the breast milk.
- You should wear comfortable clothes and remove your watch, jewellery, eye glasses, dentures, hearing aids and metal objects. As these can compromise the quality of the scan.
- You may be asked to change into a different CT gown provided by the centre.
- If your CT scan uses dye or contrast, you may need a blood test before your scheduled CT scan to choose the right dye. If you are allergic to the contrast agent used for CT, check with us for further preparations.
- When the injection goes into your body, for a short period, you may have a warm feeling in the face, neck or pelvis and then disappears. These feelings are normal and not an allergic reaction.
- Occasionally, mild allergic reactions such as a rash, hives or sneezing can occur but do not require treatment as they settle rapidly.
A mammogram is an x-ray image or picture of your breasts and the surrounding tissues. It is a low dose radiation x-ray examination to screen for breast cancer.
Mammography can detect cancer before it can be physically felt. It is an effective exam we have the early detection of breast cancer. A screen mammogram is a routine exam done on a woman who does not have any signs or symptoms of breast cancer.
Women at a high risk of developing breast cancer may be advised to include a magnetic imaging exam or to start screen at an early age. If you have concerns regarding your risk for developing breast cancer, speak with your family doctor or gynecologist.
A radiology technologist who has training and education in breast imaging will perform the exam. The mammography technologist uses a special x-ray machine to images of your breasts; usually 2 of each.
Then a radiologist, a medical doctor with advanced education and training will interpret your images
- On the day of your exam you will be asked not to put deodorants, lotions, powder or perfumes around the breast area. This is because certain ingredients in those product can appear on your images, often leading to additional images. If you forget and put some on just let the technologist know.
- Plan for screening mammography between 5th and 14th day of your menstrual period.
- You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. This form will help your radiologist understand your personal risk for developing breast cancer.
- You will be asked to take off your clothing from the waist up and wear a gown that opens in the front. So consider wearing two-piece outfit that is easy to get in and out of.
- If you have any questions or need help, the technologist will be there with you.
- Two different images of each breast are generally taken
- The two images are the craniocaudal view (CC) and MedioLateral Oblique view (MLO)
- The CC view images the breast from top to bottom and is valuable for examining breast tissue closest to the breastbone or sternum.
- The MLO view examines the breast from side to side, this view provides the radiologist with the most amount of information in one image.
- These two view examines the breast provide the radiologist with a good look at the entire breast. Every woman’s breast is unique, so it is not unusual to have an additional picture taken to see the entire breast.
- Breast compression is one of the most important aspects of the exam. The breast is composed of dense glandular tissue, fatty tissue, milk ducts, blood vessels and ligaments that support the breast. All these structures are intertwined and over lapped in the breast and if the breast is left as is should hide a breast cancer.
- Comparison naturally helps to separate these tissues. The firmer the compression the better the separation, the better the tissue separation, the better greater the detail seen on your images. The greater detail, the less chance of a breast cancer hiding.
So the benefits of compression are:
- Increased details on your images
- Reduce the chance of having motion on an image and
- Because the breast is thinner, less radiation I needed to produce the image
No one likes compression but it only takes a few seconds. It is uncomfortable but should not be painful. It is painful, let the technologist know.
After images have been taken the technologist will check to make sure all breast tissue has been included.
The radiologist will carefully examine your images. If you had previous exams, then the radiologist will carefully compare the current image to your older ones. The radiologist is looking for any change from one to the net. The majority of time these changes are perfectly natural but because it is a change the radiologist may ask for additional images, having additional images is not unusual and does not mean the doctor has found breast cancer.
- Every woman’s breast is unique, like fingerprint and very often additional images are taken to prove that the radiologist is seeing a normal change in the breast.
- However, if you had a negative mammogram and later find a breast lump, follow up the right way with your health care provider.
- For more information on mammography, signs and symptoms of breast cancer and breast cancer risk ask your technologist / service provider.
- Yearly mammograms will help find the cancer when it iss just starting, well before it can be felt.
Mammography has been used on millions of women for over 25 years. Like all x-rays, it involves limited exposure to radiations but the amount required is small. Advances begun in 1087 in all areas of mammography have drastically reduced the radiation dose.
Eventually, all women should get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society offers the following guidelines to women who are symptom-free.
- Women 20 years and older should perform breast self-examination every month
- Women 20 to 39 years should have a physical breast examination every three years and women 40 years and older should have one every year.
- Women 40 and older have a mammogram every year or more often for women at increased risk.
- Women with personal or family histories of breast cancer should consult their doctors about the need for mammography.
The purpose of mammogram screening is to find issues before they are problems. Ignoring the risk of breast cancer does not diminish it. The difference in quality and quantity of life in women whose cancers are detected before they cause symptoms and those that aren’t is reason enough to have a mammogram.